Posted on Leave a comment

McCafe Coffee review: second try

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Went to the nearby McDonald (NYSE: MCD) yesterday afternoon, and tried out the Iced Latte. Personal opinion: the latte at MCD is not as good as Starbucks ( Nasdaq: SBUX). Two things:

1) McDonald makes this mostly by machine, while in Starbucks the barista used some hand;

2) McDonald serves the latte not in a full cup, this never happened to me in Starbucks.

So in summary the latte McDonald (McCafe) looks cheap, although they can argue in “blind test” their coffee tastes better. As to the regular brewed coffee in MCD, it depends: it tastes better when it was fresh brewed. The coffee beans in those stores are similar, except SBUX are usually overly roasted (looks darker and tastes bitter).

Other stores

Continue reading McCafe Coffee review: second try

Posted on Leave a comment

Stock buy backs got Borders into financial trouble

Reading Time: < 1 minute

google finance (NYSE:BGP) cash flow, note the numbers in bold

In Millions of USD
52 weeks ending 2008-02-02 52 weeks ending 2007-02-03 52 weeks ending 2006-01-28 52 weeks ending 2005-01-23
Issuance (Retirement) of Stock, Net 7.60 -122.70 -238.30 -132.50
Issuance (Retirement) of Debt, Net 43.40 303.30 -1.40 6.80

I has been a Borders customer for a long time, just feel sad to see my favorite bookstore got into such a big financial trouble. But again, they (the former management) kind dig a hole themselves: bought back stocks from year 2004 to 2006 (spent $132.5 m, $238.2 m, $122.7 m). Then scambled to borrow $303.3 m in year 2006, and borrow and issue stocks in year 2007 (too little too late).

Business wise, I think the popularity of iPod/iTune almost killed the music CD sales, and the rise of Amazon (low cost) affect book side of business.

Pershing Square (Bill Ackman) has a 33.62% stake in Borders (gurufocus). BTW, his BGP holding has dropped 96% of its value, according to Gurufocus.

Posted on Leave a comment

Buying books from Borders

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I have been a Borders customer for a long time, most times buying coffees while studying (reading books) there, from time to time I also bought some computer or finance related books, such as Effective C++, My Life as a Quant, etc. One benefit of buying books at Borders (compared to Amazon) is getting the book right away, vs. waiting and waiting (I normally use Amazon free shipping option which typically takes a week). We know time is money in many cases.

Recently I bought two books from Borders, one is Cocoa Programming on Mac OS X, another one os Pro C#, both with 40% discount (available to Borders members only, free to join). With the 40% discount, the books are about the same price at Amazon. For instance, the list price of Pro C# 2008 is $59.99, it’s $36 after 40% off (before tax). Amazon price is $37.79.

borders book store
(Source: NPR Market Place)

Continue reading Buying books from Borders