Blockbuster (BBI) is a terrible company and stock. After perusing the third-quarter report, published Friday after the bell, I don't see any reason to modify such a rough statement.
Sorry about that, but what else can I say about a huge revenue decline and a wider loss coupled with a story that continues to deteriorate? According to the Q3 earnings release, Blockbuster experienced a 21% drop on the top line. On an adjusted basis, the company lost 20 cents per share, compared to 9 cents per share in the comparable period a year ago. Helping to drive this abject performance was a 14% contraction in same-store sales.
And what else contributed to these unattractive comps? I laughed when the powers that be blamed it on "a temporary shift in focus to manage the business for liquidity and the macroeconomic environments." That's from the report.
Let me offer a translation: "We don't know what the heck to do now!" Hey, I'm not saying the poor execs haven't been dealt a bad hand. Blockbuster has a whole host of issues going against it. The DVD industry is undergoing major changes. Competition from Netflix's (NFLX) mail-rental model and Comcast's (CMCSA) on-demand platform continue to chip away at Blockbuster's brand equity. And let's not forget Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox kiosks.
I don't think there's any shareholder out there who could come away with anything positive from this bit of earnings news. When you read about store closures and negative free-cash flow, it's hard to put on a happy face.
Needless to say, I won't be buying Blockbuster's stock in the near future. If the chain can make it through this absolutely horrific era in its history and successfully transition over to a new model, whether through digital distribution or kiosk placements, the company might someday fight back to prominence. But I will never bet any investing dollars on something that seems like a fantasy. At less than a dollar per share, Blockbuster is firmly in the land of lottery-ticket equities.
Disclosure: I don't own any company mentioned; positions can change without notice.