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Karl Pratt

 
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  • Jamba Offers 38% Upside To The Investors [View article]
    Reading your article, it occurred to me that the "ISIS mobile wallet" seriously needs to consider re-branding itself.
    Sep 2 11:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Jamba - Why The 'Rocket Launch' In Share Price Following Q2 Earnings? [View article]
    Thanks for taking the time to read it, and the kind compliment.
    Aug 18 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jamba - Why The 'Rocket Launch' In Share Price Following Q2 Earnings? [View article]
    subdave,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I just have one question for you. Could you offer a little more detail as to how JMBA is "competing with the SBUX juggernaut?" Their main business lines have nothing to do with one another. Don't get me wrong. I have tremendous respect for SBUX. I am also fully aware of what SBUX is doing with Evolution Fresh (and particularly the great job they have done getting the bottled juice into retail locations, such as Whole Foods). But SBUX would have much work to do to get to 800 locations. Could SBUX ultimately be a suitor for JMBA? I mean, JMBA's current market cap would be to SBUX like me losing a little change out of a hole in my jeans pocket.
    Aug 11 12:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jamba - Why The 'Rocket Launch' In Share Price Following Q2 Earnings? [View article]
    TrayJay1,

    Thanks for your comments, and for taking the time to carefully read my article. Thanks for your comment re: traffic. I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence. Price increases are not the answer to all woes. If anything, I would like Jamba to offer more "value propositions" (perhaps combinations of items) to bring more feet through the door.

    Let me be precise with respect to G&A. My gripe with JMBA, and I believe what Engaged Capital has identified, is that the "General and administrative" line has for some time been extremely high compared to peers. I think we all understand what Cost of Sales and Store Operating relate to. So let's focus in on salaries and compensation for a minute. Here are the basic descriptions, right from the latest 10-K:

    LABOR
    "Labor costs are comprised of store management salaries and bonuses, hourly team member payroll, training costs and other associated fringe benefits."

    GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE
    "General and administrative (“G&A”) expenses include costs associated with our corporate headquarters in Emeryville, CA, field supervision, performance related incentives, outside and contract services, accounting and legal fees, travel and travel-related expenses, share-based compensation and other."

    As I read that, "labor" appears to include compensation at the store level (including the managers of individual stores) whereas "G&A" is essentially anything above that (I read it to be regional managers on up to corporate). It is this G&A number that Engaged Capital called out specifically. This is also one of the main reasons I have hung on to my shares. I have noticed for some time that, were JMBA to be bought out and this number significantly reduced, a nice amount of income would flow to the bottom line RIGHT NOW. Therefore, my belief has been that, if management can't find a way to realize it, someone else will.
    Aug 11 12:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Jamba Juice: System Comparable Store Sales Not Any More An Area Of Concern, The Stock Benefits [View article]
    Paolo,

    I just wanted to say "congratulations" on a great article, as well as a sincere "thank you" for linking to a couple of my pieces.

    I will just offer one comment re: CPG. Investors can cross-check Inventure Foods (NASDAQ:SNAK) to see how the Jamba smoothie kits are coming along. It appears that these are doing at least relatively well, with new offerings being added to the lineup. Other than that, however, you are correct that the other ventures appear to have faltered.
    Aug 11 11:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hidden Value In Inventure Foods [View article]
    Austin,

    Thanks for a wonderful and detailed article. I was a SNAK shareholder in the past, though I am not at present. I am a JMBA shareholder, in fact have written several articles on JMBA here on SA, and received my introduction to SNAK via their partnership to produce the Jamba-branded home smoothie kits. I was fortunate enough to get shares in the below-$4 days, but sold them all in the $6-7 range in 2012 when it appeared to me that growth might have been faltering. Clearly, I would have benefited by hanging on.

    Your article will cause me to take another look at the company. I would, though, like to support one point you made. During the period I owned the stock, one of the things that impressed me was that management was not myopically focused on quarter-to-quarter results, but rather on making investments they believed to be good for the business long-term. After a limited introduction of the JMBA kits proved quite successful, SNAK decided to greatly expand the initiative, To do so, they had to absorb a great deal of expense for both slotting fees as well as promotional and marketing campaigns. This, in turn, dampened the P&L results for several quarters. But, they explained clearly to shareholders, in advance, what they were doing and why, including the fact that it would dampen quarterly results for a period of time approximating one year. I always admired that.
    Jul 28 12:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Recent Developments Make Jamba Worth A Second Look [View article]
    Paolo,

    Thanks for your kind comments. Thanks also for the work you have done around Jamba here on SA.

    I agree. If you trace back over the last 2-3 years, there have been several products introduced with great fanfare (Coffee, the energy drink and Whirln's FroYo spring quickly to mind) and then sorta "disappeared into the woodwork" without much further comment. Talbott Teas is another, but I already commented on that one.
    Jul 25 12:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Recent Developments Make Jamba Worth A Second Look [View article]
    bargainhunting,

    With respect to G&A, Jamba's VP of Stores left the company after one particularly disappointing quarterly report, and I do not recall seeing any announcement about a replacement. Doubtless, that has helped to some degree.
    Jul 25 12:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Recent Developments Make Jamba Worth A Second Look [View article]
    Trayjay1,

    Thanks for both carefully reading my article, which you obviously did, as well as taking the time to craft such a thoughtful reply.

    Sounds like you and I have been 'long' JMBA approximately the same length of time. With respect to your points, while I have noted other investors with significant ownership at various times, I have not seen another instance where the investor laid out so explicitly their investment case, along with both what they have been doing, and intend to do, about it.

    I agree with your second point as well that an after-hours move, especially in a small stock like JMBA, is not the basis for an investment thesis. I simply called it out because it represented the initial reaction to an event that was only reported after-hours and, in that sense, I found it at least worth noting.

    Lastly, with respect to the accelerated rollout, I agree that it could be defensive. I eagerly await the Q2 report, because a couple of month's worth of results should be known by that time. Also, the thought at least crossed my mind that having the fresh juice in 500+ locations, along with the related infrastructure and rapid sourcing they detailed in that same announcement, might increase the company's attractiveness as a buyout candidate.
    Jul 24 04:24 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why It's Still The Case That Americans Should Stop Whining And Complaining About Rising Food Prices [View article]
    OK, my wife does the grocery shopping, so I admit that I am not intimately familiar with the price movement of many of these items. But, I do have a question with respect to the "listed numbers" vs. "real world" with respect to one; coffee.

    The "listed number" shows that the price of coffee dropped by 8.3% between September, 2013 and June, 2014.

    Here is my "real world" experience. I typically consume coffee in two forms; 1) Bulk bags that I buy from Costco and brew at home, and 2) By the cup on trips to my neighborhood Starbucks. Unfortunately, I can't access my actual receipts over that time but my general impression is that the price of bags at Costco is roughly flat over that period. I know that Starbucks has just passed along a roughly 7.5% increase in their "by the cup" prices (my typical "Grande" has jumped from $1.95 to $2.10).

    In summary, if there has indeed been an 8.3% drop in the price of coffee, my impression is certainly that I have not experienced this delightful "benefit" in the real world.
    Jul 23 12:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Time To Trade In Your Aggregate Bond ETFs [View article]
    While I appreciate the wonderful article, I have to agree with most of the comments above, at least for me.

    I hold both BND and AGG as core holdings in my portfolio. In both cases, it is because of their diversification and almost non-existent fees. My broker charges no commissions for AGG, which makes it even better for small additions, perhaps $1-2K at a time.

    I am more concerned about weightings than chasing yield. If interest rates rise, I understand that the value of my bonds will fall which, in turn, will lower their overall weighting in my portfolio. I use a mixture of BSV to balance this risk. Additionally, I can decide on some appropriate time to buy more, either committing cash or moving some money from stocks.

    For me, the diversification and low fees these funds offer as part of a properly weighted portfolio are of the greatest importance.
    May 2 01:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia - Will The Tables Ever Turn? [View article]
    Sorry, just have to quibble with this one statement:

    "dividends are for lazy investors . . ."

    Not only is that a broadbrush oversimplification, it is an insult to investors who consider dividends an important component of their overall portfolio and who often spend great amounts of time researching and constructing a quality portfolio of such equities. Every day, in my daily summary from Seeking Alpha, I read quality articles written by such investors.
    Mar 26 03:26 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rich And Retired? Please Buy Dividend Stocks [View article]
    Adam,

    Quoting just one small snippet of your article, you said:

    "Do I have better confidence in the fact that Coke will continue to pay and raise its dividend on an annual basis than I do in the fact that its stock price will rise on an annual basis? Thus, do I want to take what I know the company will give me now and probably in the future, rather than live on a hope and a prayer that Coke's or any other stock's price will rise?"

    In his latest annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett advised:

    "Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of the asset’s future earnings, just forget it and move on. No one has the ability to evaluate every investment possibility. But omniscience isn’t necessary; you only need to understand the actions you undertake. If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating . . ."

    Of course, he went on to give specific examples of investment decisions he has made based on that principle.

    Sounds like you and he are somewhat on the same page. Not bad company to be in, I would say.
    Mar 14 12:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple The Next Microsoft? [View article]
    Just a small comment. Although I am an AAPL shareholder because, along with Icahn, I happen to believe that the company offers 'no-brainer' value at this price, I have been concerned about, and critical of, the 'lack of innovation' since Jobs premature passing.

    However, I have modified my view a little since recently upgrading my wife to the new iPad Air and a beautiful gold iPhone 5S (I have a 3rd-generation iPad and an iPhone 4 - the first one, without Siri).

    At one level, it is true that the iPad Air is merely an evolutionary upgrade to the iPad. However, the differences are meaningful. The lighter weight and slimmer form factor make for a real usage difference, each and every day.

    Now I will talk about the iPhone 5S. For a long time, I have admired Apple's creation of what I call 'museum pieces' from a design perspective. The iMac, along with its gorgeous external keyboard and mouse. The MacBook Pro (think back to when it was first released in its current configuration). And, yes, I count my iPhone 4 as one of those. I liked the iPhone 3. But, to me, the iPhone 4 was when the design reached 'museum quality', albeit with a little bit of a usage issue due to antenna positioning. The glass back. The brushed aluminum sides. Wow. But you know what? I recently spent a little time examining my wife's iPhone 5S from every angle. And it continues the tradition. The design of the back and edges. The new connector, far more elegant than the previous versions. And, again, I have to credit Apple for being willing to change this even though they had to have known they would get some flack for doing so. And, in all the above comments, I haven't even touched on the A7 chip or the fingerprint sensor.

    I think people need to, as I needed to, be careful not to get stuck in preconceived notions and really try to keep an open mind when evaluating AAPL.
    Feb 21 02:21 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PIMCO Total Return ETF Outperformed Its Sister Mutual Fund By 77 Basis Points [View article]
    Junius,

    Thanks for the article! I agree with your comments re: BSV. I believe it forms a nice "core" bond holding at the present time.

    In my portfolio, as the week opened I held BSV and BND with approximately a 55% / 45% weighting, respectively. I actually opened a small position in BOND this past Tuesday. I have a great deal of respect for the PIMCO crew, and decided to start a small position with them. If interest rates do indeed rise, I would think my BND and BOND will perform a little worse than BSV. If that proves to be the case, I might adjust my weightings at that time to skew back more towards the long-term.
    Jan 17 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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