OT: Toys R Us Files for Chap 11 Bankruptcy

OT: Toys R Us Files for Chap 11 Bankruptcy

Submitted by mjv on September 19th, 2017 at 2:24 AM


While the company claims it will continue to operate 1600 stores, bankruptcy filings tend to be the end of the road for retailers. The erosion of the underlying fundamentals of the business won't be changed through the BK process.

(CNNMoney) Toys 'R' Us is filing for bankruptcy protection.

The toy retailer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, it said in a statement on Monday. Meanwhile, it said its Canadian subsidiary will "seek protection in parallel proceedings" in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The company said it will use the proceedings to restructure its $5 billion outstanding debt.

Despite the bankruptcy filing, Toys 'R' Us said its 1,600 stores worldwide continue to operate. The filing will not include around 255 Toys 'R' Us stores outside the U.S. and Canada.

The New Jersey-based retailer has nearly 65,000 employees globally."

Ferry Field - DetNews Article

Ferry Field - DetNews Article

Submitted by Everyone Murders on July 5th, 2017 at 8:21 AM

An oft-overlooked icon on Michigan's athletic campus, Ferry Field, gets a nice article by Gregg Krupa in today's Detroit News.  As the article notes, Michigan won six of its eleven national titles at Ferry Field or the nearby Regents Field.  Yost helped build Michigan football into the monster it is at Ferry Field, and it remains a beautiful and understated track facility.

But I'll gladly allow that a Buckeye achieved the greatest individual fame at Ferry Field.  Jesse Owens, running for OSU, set or tied four world records there on May 25, 1935:

  • 100 yd dash - 9.4 Sec
  • Long Jump - 26'8.25" (record stood for over two decades)
  • 220 yd dash - 20.3 Sec
  • 200 yd low hurdles - 22.6 Sec

Owens is in a rare group of OSU athletes I can't even bring myself to dislike, what with the showing Hitler up stuff and all.  (Other candidates are Jack Nicklaus, Archie Griffin and Chris Spielman.)  Owens suffered indignities in the U.S. like many other black athletes, including not being allowed to live on OSU's campus despite being their biggest celebrity.

It used to blow my mind when I was at Michigan that I could run on the same track as Owens - a feeling reminiscent of standing at the Lincoln Memorial on the spot where MLK told us all of his dream.  If you're lucky enough to be in or near Ann Arbor, you owe it to yourself to take a run there.

And, oh yeah, the infield.  Some other stuff took place there too.  Yost's and Oosterbaan's teams, including Harry Kipke, Benny Friedman, and others ran the college football world for years on that hallowed ground.  All before crowds that ultimately required a larger stadium that you probably know a little about.

In the article Dr. Robert Soderstram notes that many landmarks from that time still remain, and you can mentally orient yourself pretty easily with current landmarks:

“It still, basically, remains where it always was,” Soderstrom said of Ferry Field. “In fact, the flag pole that is there is still where the flagpole was when Michigan played there,” he said
“The track is essentially the same. “Where the great big I.M. (Intramural Sports) Building is now is where the north stands were. And they had a cement stand, it was a permanent stand that was on the south side where you now see the small stands they use for track meets and stuff. “But at that time they had a pretty fair-sized cement stand that probably sat 10 to 15 thousand people,” Soderstram said. “Yost could squeeze 45,000 people in there.”

Ferry Field remains an understated gem (although it's been several years since I've been able to run there), and can transport a person back in time in the midst of a bustling campus.  So of course Dave Brandon was proposing going all Big Yellow Taxi on the spot and putting in a parking lot - a plan that fortunately never got legs.

The entire article, although a touch alarmist*, is worth a gander - http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/2017/07/04/ferry-field-jesse-owens-university-michigan-historic-um-football/103428396/

*The headline is that the "Future of UM's Historic Ferry Field Uncertain", but the article notes at the outset that there is no current plan to tear the place down.

Semi-OT: Analyzing the Mistakes of a Certain Toy Company, B-School Style

Semi-OT: Analyzing the Mistakes of a Certain Toy Company, B-School Style

Submitted by stephenrjking on April 14th, 2017 at 1:51 PM

This is a tough topic to post about without it going the wrong way, but I actually find it fascinating. Brian linked a Wapo article describing the struggles of Toys R Us, currently run by you-know-who.

The purpose of this post isn't to laught that DB is doing badly: I want to know WHAT he is doing badly. I have some pretty good ideas, many of them gleaned from extensive exposure to Ross B-School students and graduates. 

The headline: "Why is Toys R Us Still Struggling - Even as the Wider Toy Industry Booms?"

Too lengthy to fisk the whole article (about which I have extensive thoughts) but I will point out one thing: DB handwaves a $200 mil decline in video game/electronic sales by saying that mobile gaming is growing. But Sony, the biggest fish in the pond, had a great year, including record PS4 sales and strong game sales as well. Seems problematic to just chalk up a big decline when your products are selling really well elsewhere.

We know DB is the problem. There are probably people on this board who would, literally, be a better CEO than DB; what would you guys address here?

Are you glad Michigan is opening on a Thursday?

Are you glad Michigan is opening on a Thursday?

Submitted by gpsimms not to… on September 3rd, 2015 at 10:19 AM

When Michigan announced it would be the first major football game of 2015 for its opener, and that that meant playing on a Thursday night, my initial reaction was: 'That's not Michigan. Dave Brandon creates the future, etc.'

As the game approached, I talked myself into thinking that even though Michigan football belongs on a Saturday afternoon, I would be pretty appreciative that the Michigan football season started two days early.

Now that it is here, I am realizing that I really, really dislike it. The 'favorite gameday traditions thread' made me realize that 95% of us cannot have the usual Saturday/gameday that we are used to. I'm at work, and have to pretend I am working for the next 9 hours, which is the worst possible way to spend the hours before kickoff.

I'm just curious what everyone else's opinions are.

Michigan Basketball Open Practice, Nov. 5 (w/selfies!!!)

Michigan Basketball Open Practice, Nov. 5 (w/selfies!!!)

Submitted by Bando Calrissian on October 29th, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Michigan Basketball is holding an open practice next Wednesday, November 5, from 6-7PM at Crisler. 


Best part:

Following practice, the coaching staff and players will participate in a "Squad 99 Selfie" Promotion. From 7-8 p.m., the Wolverines will meet and greet fans and be available for photos and/or the popular social media "selfie." During the promotion, all U-M players and coaches will not be granting autographs.

Can this Athletic Department do anything without a stupid marketing tie-in? What the hell is Squad 99?

What Dave Brandon Changes Do You Want to Keep After He Is Gone?

What Dave Brandon Changes Do You Want to Keep After He Is Gone?

Submitted by stephenrjking on October 16th, 2014 at 7:28 PM

When people anxiously follow twitter accounts of Regent meetings, hoping for any sign that the current Athletic Director will be thrown to the wolves, it seems clear that his days are numbered.

If and when the (proverbial, people, let's not get carried away) guillotine falls, we hope for a competent and passionate replacement. I look forward to an introduction at a basketball halftime, where, like arch-nemesis Jim Tressel, the new AD announces: "You will be proud of your team--in the Stadium (which will have no advertising and lower ticket prices), in their uniforms (which are awesome exactly the way they are and will be the same for every game), and especially next November, on the field, led by new coach Jim Harbaugh."

Ok, maybe not exactly. But I hope for some walkbacks of the recent "innovations" shepherded into the program by DB. 

However, not every "innovation" is necessarily bad. There have been good developments in the past few years that we tend not to associate with Brandon precisely because we don't associate him with good things; yet some of his decisions, like retaining John Beilein and choosing to pay football assistant coaches market prices, are unquestionably good.

DB has made night games a thing. The lights installed in the Stadium for that purpose are classy and effective. He has also worked, successfully, to bring other major events (The Winter Classic, the soccer game, etc) to the Big House. These seem to be popular moves.

We all want ticket prices to go down and stupid stunts like skywriting to stop; however, not everything has been bad. What DB-era innovations do you want to see continue?


Students now can buy single football tickets

Students now can buy single football tickets

Submitted by bdsisme on August 8th, 2014 at 3:15 PM

In the ongoing effort to fill the stadium, students received the following email this afternoon:


This season, we are offering students the ability to purchase a limited number of single-game tickets for the 2014 season. Student Football Season Ticket Holders had priority access last week and can continue to take advantage of this offer.
Michigan vs. Appalachian State single-game tickets will be $20 each, while single-game tickets for the remaining five games will be $40 each (Penn State sold out during last week's Student Season Ticket Holder priority window) . All seats have an assigned location and will be located in the student section behind current Student Season Ticket Holders. Validation fees will be waived for single-game tickets purchased.

MLive: Brandon projects smallest budget surplus in 12 years

MLive: Brandon projects smallest budget surplus in 12 years

Submitted by MGoBender on June 20th, 2014 at 11:22 AM


The article is short, give it a read.  I'll post some quotes from it, though, and save my personal comments for a post below.

Brandon said that the department expects to incur about $145.9 million in expenses, giving it a surplus of about $5.2 million.

"Our projected surplus will be a little below previous years, but we'll be ample and our operating surpluses will be reinvested in the facility plans we have (over the next four years)." [Brandon]

Salaries, wages and benefits of department employees account for the largest year-over-year increase. The department budgeted an increase of $3.6 million in salaries for department personnel, making it the largest expanse at $53.2 million.

Team and game expenses are expected to increase to $23.9, up $1.4 million from the previous year, and "other operating and administrative expenses" are projected to increase by $1.1 million.

Nearly $20.4 million is budgeted for financial aid scholarships for student-athletes.

Emphasis mine in the last block quote.

AD fails to invite Michigan Daily to Hoke's interview

AD fails to invite Michigan Daily to Hoke's interview

Submitted by bdsisme on February 3rd, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Hoke had a sit-down with reporters today. Invitations were extended to the Freep, Detroit News, MLive, Scout, Rivals, buttttt

Surprise! The Daily was not invited to Hoke's pow wow with reporters.

— Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) February 3, 2014

Shocked [ed: \s] @MattSlovin and I weren't invited to this little reporter get-together. Doesn't sound like much was said. h/t @Mark__Snyder

— Adam Rubenfire (@arubenfire) February 3, 2014

I wonder what that is about?