5 Winners and Losers of the Week in Business


From a struggling department store chain finally turning things around to a video store calling it quits, here are the big wins and losses of the business world this week.

J.C. Penney(JCP) -- Winner

One of the ugliest streaks in retail is dead. J.C. Penney posted a 0.9 percent increase in same-store sales for the month of October, snapping an horrible streak of 21 consecutive negative months.

J.C. Penney's fall from grace began when a new CEO attempted a radical makeover that eliminated sales in favor of everyday low pricing. Shoppers didn't like that, and the CEO was eventually shown the door.

J.C. Penney still has a long way to truly bounce back. That 0.9 percent increase in store-level sales didn't even keep up with inflation over the past year. However, at a time when many were starting to write the chain off as dead, J.C. Penney is starting to recover, and pick up momentum heading into the crucial holiday shopping season.

Blockbuster -- Loser

DISH Network (DISH) is closing the last 300 Blockbuster stores that were still open in this country. It will also shutter its distribution centers and wind down its DVDs-by-mail service next month.

The country's second-largest provider of satellite television service seemed to be scooping up the video rental chain at a bargain price out of bankruptcy two years ago. However, DISH Network failed to take the steps that would have been necessary to turn the struggling chain around. Instead of weaning customers off the fading DVD platform, DISH Network stuck to optical discs and used the stores to promote its flagship pay-TV service. That was never going to work.

"Star Wars" Fans -- Winners

Disney (DIS) posted record results on Thursday afternoon, but the real nugget of news out of the entertainment giant is that Episode VII of the ballyhooed "Star Wars" franchise will be released on Dec. 18, 2015.

Reports had indicated that there was a disagreement about the release date. Disney's top brass was hoping for a summer 2015 release, but the creative side wanted the next sci-fi installment out during the summer of 2016. A compromise appears to have been reached.

Disney has already been milking its $4 billion acquisition of George Lucas' media empire, but it's a safe bet that Disney will the studio owning the holiday movie season in two years.

BlackBerry(BBRY)-- Loser

This was supposed to be a good week for BlackBerry. Prospective buyers had until Monday afternoon to top a buyout offer proposed by private equity firm Fairfax Financial.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%We never made it to the end of the auction. BlackBerry stunned the market on Monday morning by calling off the bidding process. It would boot its CEO, scrap its strategic review, and move to raise $1 billion in convertible debt from a group that includes the private equity firm that was supposed be buying all of BlackBerry.

With BlackBerry smartphone sales falling sharply over the past two years, remaining independent doesn't sound like a very promising option.

Twitter(TWTR)-- Winner

Twitter was the blowout IPO that the market was expecting. Underwriters priced the microblogging juggernaut at $26 on Wednesday night, but it wasn't enough. The stock opened at $45.10 on Thursday morning, closing at $44.90 on the day.

One could argue that Twitter left more than $1 billion on the table by letting underwriters price it so low, but at least it now has more of a cushion before it can become a broken IPO the way that Facebook (FB) did last year.

Twitter isn't profitable, but it's growing quickly. The challenge here will be if it can cash in on its growing page views to the point where it stops losing money.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Facebook and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.