Six-string therapy may not be enough to save Guitar Center
Guitar Center, the largest musical instrument retailer in the U.S., has begun preparations for a potential bankruptcy filing, DealBook scooped on Friday. But music, like many other hobbies, is booming during the pandemic. What gives?
Sign of the times. Fender, Taylor and other guitar makers have reported record sales, with music and other indoor pastimes getting a bounce in recent months. But the pandemic has highlighted that how a company sells is as important as what it offers, especially for retailers relying on brick-and-mortar stores. Even before the pandemic, Guitar Center was losing to online-only rivals like Sweetwater and direct sales from instrument makers; the same goes for craft stores like Joann Fabric and Etsy, or — let’s be frank — just about every offline retailer and Amazon.
Guitar Center, which traces its roots to 1959, skirted bankruptcy in April with a distressed debt exchange, and it may find another way to avoid Chapter 11. It is owned by the private equity firm Ares Management, which took a controlling stake in 2014 by converting debt into equity. Bain Capital acquired the chain in a leveraged buyout in 2007.
The week ahead
More than a third of the S&P 500 reports earnings this week. Companies have soundly beat (lowered) expectations thus far.
The tech giants are expected to rake in cash, with Microsoft reporting on Tuesday and Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook on Thursday. On Wednesday, the C.E.O.s of Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter are to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on “transparency and accountability.”
In finance, HSBC reports on Tuesday; Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Mastercard and Visa on Wednesday; Credit Suisse on Thursday; and KKR on Friday
Pharmaceutical firms providing coronavirus treatment updates along with earnings include Merck, Novartis and Pfizer on Tuesday; Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday; and Moderna and Sanofi on Thursday.