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As Americans complete the shift to chip-enabled credit cards, CPI forecasts revenue will rise in 2019. But the forces that have held it back will persist: the credit card maker is losing market share to competitors, and high inventories help big banks keep prices low, says Stephen Morrison, analyst at Moody’s. CPI Card declined to comment gucci cufflinks lion. Investors’ hunt for higher returns in an era of record-low interest rates has given debt-laden companies access to cheap, easy credit, encouraging them to take on more debt than would be possible in less forgiving conditions..
As a result, the median debt levels of non-financial companies relative to their earnings already exceed levels before the last financial crisis, according to Standard & Poor’s rating agency gucci cufflinks lion. While U.S. policymakers assure that credit conditions remain broadly healthy, the volume of leveraged loans, which are rated as junk or near junk, has doubled to a record $1.4 trillion over the last five years. “The leveraged loan market can be considered a canary in the coal mine for the U.S. economy,” said Jeremy Swan, managing principal for financial sponsors at accounting firm CohnReznick LLP..
Drug store chain Rite Aid Corp is another example of how initial relief offered by such loans turned, over time, into a burden. The Pennsylvania-based company borrowed over $1 billion on loose terms in 2013 to refinance old debt, according to Refinitiv data. Credit ratings agencies welcomed the financing at the time because it would help the chain, though still heavily indebted and facing uneven sales, lower its interest costs. Yet the debt burden proved too much in the years to come. “They couldn’t grow because they had so much debt,” said Mickey Chadha, a senior credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service. “They didn’t have the cash flow and the capital to invest in their stores.” gucci cufflinks lion.
Last year, the retailer, after two failed attempts to sell itself, sold about 1,900 stores to competitor Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc to reduce its leverage at a time when the rise of e-commerce has challenged its business. The number of associates Rite Aid employed slowly declined to 87,000 from 89,000 as it worked toward paying off the debt, according to the company’s annual reports. Its store count fell to 4,536 from 4,623. After the sale to Walgreens Boot Alliance, Rite Aid had 2,550 stores and 59,000 employees. Its shares are trading below $1, though it recently announced plans for a reverse stock split gucci cufflinks lion.
“Rite Aid has made significant progress in reducing the company’s debt and simplifying and strengthening its capital structure over the last several years,” the retailer said in a statement. The company said it recently refinanced, pushing out maturities until 2023 and winning improved interest rates. It also has about $1.9 billion in liquidity, “providing strong flexibility to operate and invest in (its) business.” gucci cufflinks lion. Economists say generous lending terms allow highly leveraged companies that otherwise might be pushed into bankruptcy to carry on, but the firms’ pullback from investment and hiring can exacerbate an anticipated slowdown and hurt thinly-capitalized non-bank lenders..