Pacific Sunwear built its reputation offering “California-style” accessories, primarily sunglasses, shoes and swimwear. The company was started in a surf shop in Newport Beach in 1980. Recently, highly regarded corporate balance sheet and earnings research firm GMI Ratings put Pacific Sunwear of California on its list of companies at risk of going bankrupt. That should come as no surprise. Five years ago, the company’s stock traded for $23. Recently, it dropped to $1.50. In its most recent reported quarter, Pacific Sunwear lost $15 million on revenue of $174 million. The retailer’s cash and cash equivalents dropped to $22 million from $50 million at the end of the previous quarter. Pacific Sunwear management said the company would have a non-GAAP net loss in the current quarter as well. Pacific Sunwear also disclosed it had a new line of credit with Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). Its comments about the loan in its latest 10-Q were telling: “if we were to experience same-store sales declines similar to those which occurred in fiscal 2010 and 2009, we may be required to access most, if not all, of the New Credit Facility and potentially require other sources of financing to fund our operations, which might not be available.” Why is the company in so much trouble? It is too small and is in a commoditized business. Nearly every major department store chain sells products similar to those Pacific Sunwear offers, and so do many niche retailers. Pacific Sunwear, meanwhile, has only 729 small stores. What will happen to the retailer? It could be bought by a larger company — its market cap is only $108 million — or it may go out of business with its inventory sold to other retailers.
(AP Photo/Ed Bailey) More From 24/7 Wall St.
: America's Poorest States 13 American Cities Going Broke The Most Educated Countries in the World The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.