Monthly Archives: February 2017

How Nasty Gal Went From an $85 Million Company to Bankruptcy

Online retailer’s swift growth led to stumbles; amid turbulence, a culture gone ‘toxic’

Nasty Gal, founded by Sophia Amoruso, at one time generated $85 million in revenue but is now poised to be sold to a rival following bankruptcy proceedings. WSJ’s Sarah Chaney explains on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Getty

By Sarah Chaney
Feb. 24, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET

The rapid rise and fall of Nasty Gal Inc., an online retailer once popular with millennial shoppers and venture capitalists, is culminating in a bankruptcy sale to a rival.

In less than a decade, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, 32 years old, transformed an eBay vintage store into a company that generated $85 million in revenue for the 2014 fiscal year.

But the Los Angeles company’s swift growth led to stumbles. Leadership turnover and poor communication hurt its bottom line, according to interviews with 10 former employees. Some described the company culture as becoming “toxic,” referring to turbulence in recent years including several rounds of layoffs.

Read the full article here.

Nearly 12 Million Consumers Gained Access to Credit Products Including Auto, Credit Card and Personal Loans in 2016

TransUnion report finds personal loans continued to grow in popularity; Baby boomers make up largest share of consumers with a personal loan in 2016Auto loans, credit cards and personal loans reached new milestones in 2016 as the number of consumers with access to these products continued to grow, according to TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRU) Q4 2016 Industry Insights Report. The report, powered by PramaSM analytics, found that balances rose across all credit products by year-end.

“The consumer credit market performed well at the end of 2016. Total balances rose across every credit product in the fourth quarter following a strong shopping season. For the past several years, auto lenders have been responding to the pent-up demand in the subprime risk tier, and card issuers have been competing for share of wallet. Lenders are issuing more credit, and consumers are using that credit. As a result of this conscious effort to relax underwriting, we have observed higher, although still well controlled, credit card and auto delinquency rates over time.”
Nidhi Verma, senior director of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit

Personal loans reached a new milestone at the conclusion of 2016, with total balances topping $100 billion for the first time ever. While younger consumers have played a major role in the growth of these lending products, TransUnion’s Q4 2016 Industry Insights Reportconfirmed that, contrary to popular belief, mature borrowers are leading the charge on these loans. “Personal loans continued to grow in originations and balances, and we expect this to remain a popular product for all consumers in 2017,” added Verma.

Baby boomers comprised 32.8% of all consumers with a personal loan at year-end 2016, followed by Gen X (31.6%) and millennials (26.6%). In Q4 2013, millennials comprised just 23.5% of personal loan users, but their share grew over the past three years to reach 26.6% at the end of 2016.

Read the full article here.


Gambling-Legalization Effort in Georgia Fails for Second Year Running

Bill faced opposition from Christian groups and some business groups

Lobbyists and lawmakers in the Georgia Capitol in March 2016. A bill to legalize gambling in Georgia failed to get of committee Monday and the bill can’t be revisited until next year.PHOTO: JASON GETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Chris Kirkham
Feb. 27, 2017

Efforts to legalize casinos in Georgia, one of the last major regional markets that is off limits to gambling, came to a halt Monday when legislators failed to get a bill out of committee.

Legislation has to move forward by the end of this week, meaning a casino bill can’t be revisited until next year. Gambling is barred under Georgia’s constitution, but major casino corporations in recent years have viewed the state as a ripe opportunity for growth in the U.S.

Read the full article here.

U.S. Household Debts Climbed in 2016 by Most in a Decade

Household debts climbed by $226 billion to $12.6 trillion in the fourth quarter

Total household debt climbed by $226 billion in the final three months of 2016, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.PHOTO: MICAH B. RUBIN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

By Josh Zumbrun
Updated Feb. 16, 2017 2:51 p.m. ET

The total amount of debt held by American households climbed in 2016 by the most in a decade, driven by broad and steady increases in credit card debt, auto and student loans, and a fourth-quarter surge to the highest amount of mortgage originations since before the financial crisis.

Total household debt climbed by $226 billion in the final three months of 2016, according to a report Thursday from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Total household debts are now just $99 billion shy of the all-time peak of $12.7 trillion set in the third quarter of 2008 just as the banking system began crashing down. The New York Fed estimates that debt is highly likely to set a new record in 2017.

Read the full article here.

The NFL’s Mountain of Unusable Data

Each player is equipped with a chip that gives coaches a trove of new metrics—but finding an application for this has proven tricky

Photo: Illustration by Mark Matcho

By Matthew Futterman

Each player in Sunday’s Super Bowl will have a computer chip attached to his shoulder pad that tracks his every movement, part of a two-year-old program that opens the league and its fans to a whole new world of statistical possibility.

Yet this initiative is so far under the radar that plenty of players still aren’t aware the league is tracking and measuring them like this. “I didn’t even know there was a chip in my shoulder pad,” said Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy this week.

An even bigger mystery for league officials, coaches and dataheads is what to do with this new trove of information. The idea was that, by tracking the speed, location, and movement of players, teams and fans could create metrics that would reveal who moved fastest in key situations, covered the most ground on defense or found the open areas in a zone defense most often.

Read the full article here.

NFL Goes Deep With Market Analytics

With average viewership per game this season down 8%, football is tapping data for new ways to engage with fans

By Sara Castellanos

Feb 3, 2017

NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle says a new analytics platform deployed in stadiums could help individual teams tailor marketing and social media strategies to their fan base.Photo: National Football League

The National Football League and some team owners, facing declines in viewership, are counting on data to help turn fans into more lucrative repeat customers.

Among the owners spearheading that effort is The Kraft Group, owner of the New England Patriots, which built a data warehouse and analytics platform three years ago that contains information about customers, purchase history, open rates on email campaigns and anonymized data on website traffic.

Read the full article here.

Donald Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank Law, Fiduciary Rule

White House adviser Gary Cohn says banks burdened by rules added after financial crisis

Gary Cohn, White House National Economic Council directorPHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Michael C. Bender and Damian Paletta
Updated Feb. 3, 2017

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Friday plans to sign an executive action that establishes a framework for scaling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, part of a sweeping plan to dismantle much of the regulatory system put in place after the financial crisis.

Mr. Trump also plans another executive action aimed at rolling back a controversial regulation scheduled to take effect in April that critics have said would upend the retirement-account advisory business.

“Americans are going to have better choices and Americans are going to have better products because we’re not going to burden the banks with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of regulatory costs every year,” White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “The banks are going to be able to price product more efficiently and more effectively to consumers.”

Read the full article here.

Credit-Card Fraud Keeps a Rising, Despite New Security Chips—Study

Increase in identity fraud driven by rise in fraudulent online purchases

Photo: Bloomberg

By AnnaMaria Andriotis and Peter Rudegeair
Updated Feb. 1, 2017

More consumers became victims of identity fraud last year than at any point in more than a decade despite new security protections implemented by the credit-card industry, a report released Wednesday said.

Some 15.4 million U.S. consumers were victims of identity fraud in 2016, resulting in $16 billion in total losses, according to the report by consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research and identity-theft-protection firm LifeLock Inc. The number of victims rose 18% from 2015 and was the highest since Javelin, a unit of Greenwich Associates LLC, started tracking the phenomenon in 2003.

Read the full article here.