Recently in services Category

BMG Music Service

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This one slipped by: the mail-order BMG Music Service closed its membership in March. The company would not comment on long-term plans to maintain or shut down the service. Surprisingly, existing members are still receiving information and (ostensibly) making purchases.

BMG was the last remaining music subscription service, having acquired Columbia house in 2005. Parent company Bertelsmann then sold the business to Direct Brands last year. The website directs people to a website called, while still appears to be accepting new members.

Flying J

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Flying J cited a cash shortage in a Chapter 11 filing Monday, brought on by the steep decline in oil prices and tight credit markets. Flying J, which has 250 service and travel stations nationwide, is one of America's largest privately held companies. The company plans no change in operations during the reorganization.

Op: One would think that declining oil prices would not have a material effect on a service station--indeed, the lay person figures it could help, not hurt, margins, since the stations could lower prices more slowly than the futures market. But if Flying J secured its oil at too high a price, and competitors with better buying can lower prices faster, this wipes out profitability.

Dry cleaning as bellwether

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Interesting corollary impact to the economy: Albany's largest dry cleaner has experienced a "dramatic downturn" in revenue and has filed for bankruptcy. "We're seeing clothes dirtier than they used to be," said CEO B. Robert Joel. Rising energy costs coupled with declining consumer traffic combined to create a significant shift in the business. Four of the chain's 14 locations will be closed.


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Parcel delivery service DHL announced on Monday it is ending its domestic shipping business due to U.S. market conditions. The company, a division of Deutsche Post, is refocusing on international shipping, five years after purchasing competitor Airborne to increase its American footprint.

As much as this decision was influenced by current market conditions, it also underscores an old Jack Welch principle: if a business does not occupy the No. 1 or 2 position in the market, the business may not be viable. DHL (and Airborne) were distant competitors to FedEx and UPS.

Timely Demise tracks the retail industry as it changes with our unprecedented economic environment. Published by David Wertheimer. Did I miss something? Drop me a line.

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