Tag: Shopping

10 Ways Target Is Robbing You

target

I spend so much in Target, sometimes I look at my bank statement and think, someone stole my ATM card.

Then I realize, Oh, sh*t. That was actually just me, three times last week.

Target knows what’s up. They entice you with brightly-colored plastic and seasonal cups that will either: A. break or B. get lost — probably within a week of purchase. And that’s just the tip of the skillfully-crafted, Orla Kiely-iceberg. Target has devised ways to steal your money — like some kind of commercial conglomerate ninja — all while making you think it was your idea.

1. Starbucks.

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Technically, this isn’t Target. It’s inside Target. Guilt by association. You’re going to need sustenance. Namely, a Frappuccino. Also probably a muffin or some other baked good. This is a scam because A) The caffeine is going to hype you up and make you forget how much money you set out to spend and B) The muffin sugar is going to reduce your defenses. You are now out $8 and the caffeine-induced mania will make you stop at the Dollar Spot.

2. The Dollar Spot. It’s a lie. The end.

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Not everything in the alleged “Dollar Spot” is a dollar. Some of it is actually $3, and it’s always the shit your children want most (i.e., Hello Kitty baskets). Even if everything was a dollar, that pricing is only as good as your self-restraint. Twenty-seven dollar spot items is (in case you are times-tables rusty) $27, plus tax. Congratulations! You now own 27 pieces of carcinogenic Chinese crap (no offense, China). And you’re $27 poorer ($35, counting the Frappuccino).

3. Notepad lure.

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These bastards are always changing their notepad selection. SCAM. Every time they stock the shelves with a new color Moleskine or a spiral-bound pad with inspirational/witty text, one falls into my cart. Never mind that I have 17 notebooks at home that have three pages of notes them. Never mind that the last notebook I bought is now a coffee coaster/paperweight. They are just so cute. Especially all stacked together with absolutely nothing whatsoever written in them. FIVE. DOLLARS. A. WEEK.

4. THIS aisle.

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I don’t even really know what this aisle is. But, I just realized my living room is painfully outdated. And I went ahead and spent $64 on throw pillows. Seriously, what is even happening in this aisle? It’s carefully crafted to scream, “YOUR HOUSE IS HIDEOUS.” I don’t have a nautical theme anywhere. But now I have a lobster pillow and a faux-coral sculpture I don’t even understand. The only reason I didn’t buy a lamp is there was no room in my cart after the fucking pillows. $84 (pillows + useless [but stylish] faux-coral).

5. The end cap black hole.

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Would you just look at this? Never mind that I don’t have an inch of wall space. Never mind I don’t even really know what this is. It has a hobnail glass jar and it’s aqua. And for the love of all that is holy there is jute. SOLD. I’ll put flowers in there. Or something. Notepad? $29 (plus tax and another $5 notebook).

6. Toys.

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Oh, these look innocent enough. They’re just Hot Wheels. I’m mean, they’re only a DOLLAR. You already spent $3 on the Hello Kitty basket, anyway. Yeah. It’s all fun and games until you realize you have 74 Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels? More like Hot STEALS. One dollar today. $74 annually.

7. Buy-something-get-something-free trickery.

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I.e., four packages of Oreos = one gallon free milk. Do I need four packages of Oreos? Yes. That’s not the point. The point is, if I see a get-something-free sign, I’m sucked in. It’s the Dollar Spot lie with less cancer from China, or the end cap black hole with more cookies. Take your pick. $12.

8. Booze.

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By now, you’ve made it three-quarters of the way around the store. You’re definitely going to need some wine to dull the shock of the pillows you bought that you so didn’t need. Probably more than one bottle. Buy six, get 10% off (also see #6). They sell vodka too. Bless. $65.

9. This section.

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I don’t know what happens to my ability to reason when I get to this section of the store. This is Target’s master plan. First, they exhaust you by making you walk their Triwizard Tournament labyrinth. Then, they assault you with the heavenly scent of lavender. My feet hurt and I’m tired and a nice mineral salt soak sounds pretty necessary. And you can’t have a soak without the matching scented lotion. Obviously. $19.

10. The Checkout.

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Home stretch, you think. NOPE. Illusion. This can go one of two ways: If you have kids with you, they are going to beg for candy/Teddy Grahams/Goldfish. This is going to be annoying, but also distracting in a beneficial way. If you can manage to get out of there without buying candy/crackers/cookies, then you’ve probably also avoided the sample size section to your right. If you haven’t avoided the sample size section, you now have yet another Eos lip balm and lotion. $6.

Now, do what any self-respecting woman would do. Rip your receipt into a hundred tiny pieces, go home, uncork that wine and run yourself a heavenly lavender-scented bath.

receipt

*Article originally published on Huffington Post.

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

thrift

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

I went into a thrift store, not a New York City dumpster. You know all those times you cleaned out your closet and donated the pieces you were bored with? Did you happen to sprinkle some bed bugs into the bag before you dropped it off? I didn’t think so. All those donations are from normal, clean people. I have a higher chance bringing bed bugs in from the subway than a Savers.

2. “Aren’t you skeeved out by wearing used clothes?”

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You know that Zara dress you just bought? 40 other women tried it on before you. Granted they didn’t live in it, but that’s why we have detergent! Just pop that $2 find into a hot water rinse cycle and it’s as good as new.

3. “I just don’t have the patience to dig through all those racks. I don’t know how you do it.”

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Have you ever stepped into a Forever21? That place is a labyrinth of clothes. And not everyone makes it out alive. If you can conquer that, you can conquer anything. A thrift store is child’s play compared to that.

4. “Everything is so outdated, though.”

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Everything that was once old is new again. Tropical prints of the ’90s are coming back, as are culottes and wide leg pants. As long as you know how to style an outdated piece in a modern way, it’ll always look interesting and stylish.

That or you always have the power of a thread and needle backing you up. Did you find a busy Megan Draper-inspired print on a dress, but it’s a terrifying maxi? Hem it into a mini! Did you find a happy, sherbet-colored top but it’s three sizes too large? Turn it into a flowing crop top. Nothing is outdated if you now how to play with it.

5. “Are you part of the extreme couponing brigade, too?”

five

Just because I like to hunt down pants for 50 cents doesn’t mean I buy one-ply toilet paper. I’m a treasure hunter, not a TLC reality star.

6. “I don’t know how you do it, nothing ever fits me right.”

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Again, you just have to be a little creative. If a dress is baggy but you just love the way it feels on you, cinch it with a belt and it’s automatically your size. If a jacket is a skosh too big but has the right look about it, roll up the sleeves to even out the bulky proportions. If a skirt is a smidge too loose, belt it and give the waist a paperbag feel. In this dress I snipped off the sleeves because, ew, polyester sleeves. I don’t just have a magic body type that fits all thrift finds. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

7. “Man, I never find vintage like you do when I go.”

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As cool as it sounds, I’m not the pied piper of vintage. I don’t whip out a flute in the middle of the sales floor and have dresses and vintage Coach bags come waltzing to me.

You see this right here? You see this amazing, long-skirt, let’s-vacation-in-Hawaii-in-the-’50s dress? I found it after an hour of rack-cruising and shelf sifting. I didn’t lock eyes with it a minute through power-walking through the sweater aisle. Like with any great find (anyone who’s stepped into an Ikea or a TopShop on sale day will agree with me), it takes patience, determination, and commitment to go piece by piece, rack by rack. You’ll find it — you just have to give the mission more than five minutes of your time.

8. “I don’t know, I’d rather just pay a little more and get the same piece new.”

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

I went into a thrift store, not a New York City dumpster. You know all those times you cleaned out your closet and donated the pieces you were bored with? Did you happen to sprinkle some bed bugs into the bag before you dropped it off? I didn’t think so. All those donations are from normal, clean people. I have a higher chance bringing bed bugs in from the subway than a Savers.

2. “Aren’t you skeeved out by wearing used clothes?”

You know that Zara dress you just bought? 40 other women tried it on before you. Granted they didn’t live in it, but that’s why we have detergent! Just pop that $2 find into a hot water rinse cycle and it’s as good as new.

3. “I just don’t have the patience to dig through all those racks. I don’t know how you do it.”

Have you ever stepped into a Forever21? That place is a labyrinth of clothes. And not everyone makes it out alive. If you can conquer that, you can conquer anything. A thrift store is child’s play compared to that.

4. “Everything is so outdated, though.”

Everything that was once old is new again. Tropical prints of the ’90s are coming back, as are culottes and wide leg pants. As long as you know how to style an outdated piece in a modern way, it’ll always look interesting and stylish.

That or you always have the power of a thread and needle backing you up. Did you find a busy Megan Draper-inspired print on a dress, but it’s a terrifying maxi? Hem it into a mini! Did you find a happy, sherbet-colored top but it’s three sizes too large? Turn it into a flowing crop top. Nothing is outdated if you now how to play with it.

5. “Are you part of the extreme couponing brigade, too?”

Just because I like to hunt down pants for 50 cents doesn’t mean I buy one-ply toilet paper. I’m a treasure hunter, not a TLC reality star.

6. “I don’t know how you do it, nothing ever fits me right.”

Again, you just have to be a little creative. If a dress is baggy but you just love the way it feels on you, cinch it with a belt and it’s automatically your size. If a jacket is a skosh too big but has the right look about it, roll up the sleeves to even out the bulky proportions. If a skirt is a smidge too loose, belt it and give the waist a paperbag feel. In this dress I snipped off the sleeves because, ew, polyester sleeves. I don’t just have a magic body type that fits all thrift finds. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

7. “Man, I never find vintage like you do when I go.”

As cool as it sounds, I’m not the pied piper of vintage. I don’t whip out a flute in the middle of the sales floor and have dresses and vintage Coach bags come waltzing to me.

You see this right here? You see this amazing, long-skirt, let’s-vacation-in-Hawaii-in-the-’50s dress? I found it after an hour of rack-cruising and shelf sifting. I didn’t lock eyes with it a minute through power-walking through the sweater aisle. Like with any great find (anyone who’s stepped into an Ikea or a TopShop on sale day will agree with me), it takes patience, determination, and commitment to go piece by piece, rack by rack. You’ll find it — you just have to give the mission more than five minutes of your time.

8. “I don’t know, I’d rather just pay a little more and get the same piece new.”

I’m sorry, my blood runs a little too Polish to understand what you just said. My mom’s been training me with the ancient Slavic tradition of haggling since I was old enough to “walk away,” so I’m just going to assume you’re having a stroke now and call you an ambulance. Hang tight, I have you.

9. “I’m not a hipster, I can’t pull the style off.”

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You don’t have to buy the Cosby sweater. Ignore anything cat-patterned and shoulder padded and just focus on the Calvin Klein shift dresses and the like-new knit sweaters and leather bags. Just keep your eye on the prize and breathe.

thrift 2

*Article originally posted on Yahoo.

10 Brands That Will Disappear In 2015

Branding

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 American brands that we predict will disappear before the end of the next year. This year’s list reflects the fact that mergers and acquisitions are at unprecedented levels. While some of the companies on this list may disappear because they continue to be at the bottom of their industry due to weak products and management, many may disappear because they are doing so well.

Retail continues to be one of the sectors with several troubled companies that may have to be sold to survive. The 24/7 Wall St. list includes Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) and Aeropostale Inc. (ARO). Both specialty retailers are in highly competitive spaces. While Lululemon is battling Gap’s aggressive move into the yoga pants space, Aeropostale’s teen line of branded clothes is losing out to low-cost, fashion-forward brands like Forever 21 and H&M.

The consolidation of the broadband industry may also cause some companies to disappear. Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) will likely be sold to Comcast Corp. (CMCSA). DirecTV (DTV) will likely be bought by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). These transactions are part of a much larger movement to become the exclusive providers of entertainment to American homes.

While telecom companies interested in increasing market share have the option to install a fiber network to take market share from cable, that comes at a great cost. Merger trends in the industry indicate it may be better to buy than to build. Comcast and AT&T certainly believe so. Having a larger market share could also allow these companies greater price leverage with content providers like Netflix and premium cable channels.

Adoption of mobile and the massive size of some of Web 2.0 companies has also contributed to the list. Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) was well positioned when it was able to market Farmville to Facebook’s users. But it is doing poorly after failing to come up with another hit, moving slowly on mobile and losing its special relationship with the social networking giant.

While Shutterfly Inc. (SFLY) makes a tidy profit selling photos for greeting cards and calendars, it is also up against free photo sharing services such as Instagram and Facebook Inc. (FB). The photo printing site is currently looking for a buyer.

A number of the biggest food packaging companies are also in the market. Russell Stover is the third largest chocolate company in America. However, third place is miles behind the leaders, particularly Hershey Co. (HSY). Stover’s management has decided to give up operating on its own and has put itself on the market.

Hillshire Brands Co. (HSH) will also almost certainly be sold this year. It has already signed an agreement with Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN). But Tyson did not get the prize without an expensive fight with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (PPC), which gives a sense of the value of food companies to their rivals.

In 2012, we predicted that Research In Motion would disappear. Last year, the company changed its name to BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY). The company is on the list again this year under the new name. The company continues to be in serious trouble after being wildly successful for many years.

Reviewing last year’s list, we have had some winners and some bad calls. We called Nook and Leap Wireless correctly. Last month, Barnes & Noble announced it would spin off its Nook e-reader as sales continue to plunge. Leap Wireless was acquired by AT&T late last year.

We have yet to be proven right — or wrong — about the balance of the list. Revenues for Martha Stewart Living and Road & Track magazines continue to be weak, but they also remain in the business. Sales of Mitsubishi and Volvo are among the lowest in the auto industry, but you can still buy their cars. Similarly, LivingSocial continues to offer deals, WNBA to sell tickets and Olympus to make cameras. While these calls haven’t proven right yet, we have until the end of the year.

After five years of making predictions, we are proud of our record. Out of the 49 companies that have made our list, 24 have disappeared. Given that these brands were chosen from a universe of thousands, we think it’s an impressive record.

We continue to use the same methodology in deciding which brands will disappear. The major criteria include:

1. Declining sales and losses;
2. Disclosures by the parent of the brand that it might go out of business;
3. Rising costs that are unlikely to be recouped through higher prices;
4. Companies that are sold;
5. Companies that go into bankruptcy;
6. Companies that have lost the great majority of their customers; and
7. Operations with withering market share.

Each brand on the list suffers from one or more of these problems. Each of the 10 will be gone, based on our definitions, within 18 months.

This is 24/7 Wall St.’s 10 brands that will disappear in 2014.

1. Lululemon

Lule

It is not hard to identify when the fortunes of the women’s athletic apparel company changed. On March 18, 2013, Lululemon recalled a large portion of its yoga pants because they were too sheer and as a result too revealing. The problems did not end there and resulted in management changes, revenue drop offs and a collapse of its share price.

The fallout cost CEO Christine Day her job in June 2013. Founder and Chairman Chip Wilson announced that he would step down in December of last year. Wilson has since returned as the potential leader of a buyout to take the company private. Wilson believes he can find a private equity backer. He will likely be able to buy Lululemon at a discount price, at least based on what its shares traded for at their peak.

Lululemon’s last quarterly financial statement shows the extent of the company’s troubles. Revenue at the previously fast growing company was up only slightly to $385 million from $346 million in the same period a year ago. However, net income collapsed from $47 million to $19 million. The stock is down 50% from its peak set at the start of June 2013.

2. DirecTV

DTV

AT&T’s plan to buy satellite TV giant DirecTV is an example of a broadband carrier trying to extend its reach into American households. AT&T’s U-verse fiber to the home broadband and TV product has only been modestly successful. It has 5.7 million customers to DirecTV’s 38 million.

ALSO READ: The Happiest Countries in the World

The $49 billion deal has to clear federal regulation. Some members of Congress have sharply questioned AT&T’s management about the consumer benefits. While the two companies argued their marriage will lower consumers’ costs, some consumer groups believe that prices will go up and the new company will be able to control access to popular programming like NFL games.

AT&T has reason to fight for the deal and make sure it closes. Its attempted bid to add wireless broadband capacity via a buyout of T-Mobile was blocked by the government. Beyond that, increasing customers by more than six times makes the business case for the deal even more compelling.

3. Hillshire Brands

Hillshire

Hillshire Brands, which markets Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages, the top-selling products in their categories, has been on the radar of several food packagers. The company reached an agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods in May for $4.23 billion. But the agreement sparked interest in Hillshire and triggered a bidding war for the company among the largest food packagers in the country, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride.

Hillshire accepted Tyson’s final offer of $8.5 billion including debt, a nearly $1 billion premium over Pilgrim’s offer and a 50% premium over its share price prior to the bidding war. To close the Tyson deal, Hillshire had to terminate the Pinnacle agreement. Tyson expects the Hillshire buyout to close before the end of its fiscal year, but that does not mean the fight is over. Pilgrim’s Pride may not go away and might still offer a higher bid.

4. Zynga

zynga

Zynga can be considered the single greatest social media failure among recent IPOs. The leading provider of games on Facebook has been unable to match the success of Farmville, its first hit. Facebook also ended its relationship with the gaming company in 2012, effectively limiting Zynga’s access to the social network’s 1 billion users and making it harder for the company to promote its games.

The company moved slowly into the mobile platform, and after it failed to create big hits of its own, it acquired popular titles such as Draw Something and Words With Friends. But new rivals like King Digital, maker of popular mobile game Candy Crush, continue to crowd the market. Similarly, traditional game companies like Electronic Arts have also begun to migrate their titles to mobile devices, challenging the social gaming company’s position.

The question is whether Zynga has enough demand for its products to support it as an independent public company. The company reported daily active users in the first quarter of 2014 were down nearly 50% to 28 million, compared to 52 million in the first quarter of 2013. Zynga lost $61 million in the first quarter of the year, against a profit of $4 million in the same period a year ago. Since early March, Zynga stock has dropped 45%, which while indicative of its troubles, also makes it a more attractive takeover target.

ALSO READ: Ten Oldest Company Logos in the World

5. Alaska Air

alaska

Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) is one of the few remaining independent airlines in the United States that is not owned by one of the four larger carriers. Even larger airlines have been acquired: Northwest was bought by Delta, Continental merged with United and U.S. Airways joined with American Airlines. The recent consolidations in the industry have been successful, leading to significant cost cuts. Alaska Air, with its profits and customer service reputation, is the last real prize left.

There has been speculation that Delta might buy Alaska Air for its West Coast routes. The rumors have pushed Alaska Air shares higher.

Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.

6. Russell Stover

russell

Russell Stover is on the auction block. The third largest candy maker in America may sell for as much as $1 billion. Though once publicly traded, the company known for its boxes of assorted chocolates, is now privately held.

One of the rumored buyers is Hershey, which would use the acquisition to further increase the size of its chocolate business. With a market cap of $21.6 billion and revenue of $7.1 billion, Hershey would not have much trouble swallowing up Stover. According to estimates, Stover makes around $600 million in revenue with 10% operating margins.

However, the list of possible buyers is much longer than that. Large multinational food companies have shown an interest in chocolate companies. Kraft paid about $20.6 billion for Cadbury in 2010. Mars, which owns M&Ms and Milky Way, could also be interested. International food giant Nestlé would also almost certainly take a look at Stover. As is often the case in auctions, private equity companies will consider Stover to see whether they can get a better return than current management.

7. Shutterfly

shutterfly

Shutterfly is a Web 1.0 business in a social media world. While it continues to dominate the online photo printing industry, the emergence of free sharing and online storage sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Dropbox has compromised the company’s future ability to attract customers. Many of these services are optimized or native to mobile, where Shutterfly falls short.

Shutterfly had a modest 2.55 million customers in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 2.25 million the same quarter last year. Even though revenue rose 22% year over year to more than $783 million, it remains a small business. While Facebook does not generate revenue directly from this service, its users uploaded 350 million photos a day last year.

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Shutterfly shares fell 18% over the past 12 months, against an almost 20% gain in the S&P 500. But with shares down it has become an attractive acquisition target in the online sharing or storage business with limited exposure to paying customers for printed photos, cards or calendars. The deal frenzy in the tech space has public companies such as Amazon and Apple, which have huge cash hordes, looking for new complementary businesses. The company has retained an investment bank to look for a buyer.

8. Time Warner Cable

Time warner

Time Warner Cable accepted an offer from Comcast for $45.2 billion at the beginning of this year. The acquisition would create the largest cable company in the United States with a combined total of 30 million subscribers. The deal is valuable because there is very little market overlap. Many, however, oppose it, including wireless carriers, online video providers like Netflix, and consumer advocacy groups that believe the combination will create a monopoly and result in higher rates.

The single biggest hurdle to the deal is federal government approval. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission will lead the government’s assessment of the deal. Some members of Congress have also expressed doubts about whether the transaction would be fair to consumers. In 2011, the Justice Department blocked a similar deal involving AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile because of antitrust concerns.

The deal would be one in a series of anticipated mega-mergers that would leave wired and wireless broadband in fewer hands. The market has speculated for some time that Sprint will buy out T-Mobile to better compete with industry leaders AT&T and Verizon. Most experts believe Time Warner Cable will be gone by the end of 2014.

9. BlackBerry

blackberry

BlackBerry is about to run out of its nine lives. As recently as 2008, BlackBerry, then operating as Research In Motion, had 19.5% of the global smartphone market. However, following Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and Google’s release of the Android mobile operating system in 2008, that figure fell to less than 1% by late 2013.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the release of two new phones last year, sales of the Z10 and Q10 were abysmal. At the end of last year, BlackBerry outsourced its hardware to Foxconn to focus on its software offerings.

The company has positioned its QNX platform as the most secure operating system for mobile communication, and it is now a leading OS in the auto and health care industries. While these are attractive businesses for potential buyers, they are inadequate on their own to make the company viable.

Revenue has continued its multiyear slide, confirming the belief that BlackBerry cannot survive on its own. In the most recently reported quarter, revenue dropped to $966 million from $3.1 billion in the same quarter the year before.

10. Aeropostale

aeropostale

Aeropostale competes with Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters. Like those competitors, Aeropostale makes and markets inexpensive, casual clothes for teenagers, which it sells through company stores. The entire category is in trouble because teens are choosing inexpensive fashion-forward retailers like Forever 21 and H&M over branded apparel.

Out of the three largest teen-retailers, Aeropostale is in the most trouble. In the most recently reported quarter, revenue fell 12% to $396 million from the same period last year. Same-store sales were off 13%. The retailer’s loss also widened to $77 million from $12 million in the same period a year earlier. The company’s stock price plunged by more than 85% in the past five years.

The company ended its first quarter with only $24.5 million in cash, its lowest since 2000, according to Cowen and Co. analyst John Kernan. Following the first quarter’s results, the company announced that it had secured $150 million in financing from private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which is expected to keep it afloat at least until the end of the year.

 

*Article originally published on Yahoo.