All posts by James Cannon

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]

Red Lobster Declares Bankruptcy

With more than 600 locations, Red Lobster has filed for bankruptcy. Burdened by debt and declining traffic, the seafood chain is set to transfer ownership to creditors. Despite still generating $2 billion in sales annually, the company has struggled to stay afloat.

The bankruptcy news drew nostalgic customers back to the nautical-themed restaurants. Some even sought to buy memorabilia from the closing locations.

Jess McKay, a 33-year-old fitness instructor, rushed to a Red Lobster upon hearing the news. She fondly recalled childhood memories of dining there with her family.

Red Lobster was founded in 1968 by Bill Darden in Lakeland, Florida, and rapidly expanded with the help of an investment by General Mills. However, recent years have been tough, and the chain has struggled to attract diners.

Despite the current challenges, Red Lobster still serves a significant portion of the lobster market. However, with nearly $300 million in debt and less than $30 million in cash by late 2023, the future remains uncertain.

New Version of Jeopardy to Stream on Prime Video

Iconic game show “Jeopardy!” is celebrating its 60th anniversary by making its streaming debut. Prime Video has commissioned “Pop Culture Jeopardy!,” a new spin-off that marks the first time “Jeopardy!” has been developed exclusively for a leading streaming platform.

This modern adaptation by Amazon introduces a fresh approach, featuring teams of three contestants who will tackle a variety of pop culture-themed categories, ranging from music and sports to Broadway and celebrities.

While the host has not yet been announced, the show will maintain the classic “answer-and-question” format, and will be produced by Michael Davies, the producer of the traditional TV version. The release date for “Pop Culture Jeopardy!” is still unknown, but it will be available exclusively to Prime Video’s 200 million-plus global subscribers.

This is not the show’s first foray into spin-offs or streaming; “Sports Jeopardy!” previously aired on Sony’s Crackle service. As part of its expansion into digital content, Amazon continues to invest heavily in its streaming services, including Prime Video and Freevee, with spending on video and music reaching nearly $19 billion last year, up 14% from 2022. In response to these rising costs, Prime Video has introduced an optional ad-supported service, with an ad-free upgrade available for an additional $2.99 per month.

Equinox Launches $40K Longevity Program

Equinox, the high-end fitness chain, is making a bold move into the longevity and wellness market with the launch of “Optimize by Equinox”. At $40,000 a year, Optimize is one of the most expensive health programs in the world. In partnership with lab testing startup Function Health, this program represents a paradigm shift in the quest to slow aging and increase vitality.

The program starts with comprehensive diagnostic testing of 100 biomarkers, covering everything from heart, liver, and kidney health to metabolic function, immunity, cancer markers, and nutrient levels. Equinox then conducts advanced fitness assessments like VO2 max, strength, and mobility. This data is used to create a personalized plan for each member.

Central to Optimize is a dedicated “pit crew” for each participant, including top-tier personal trainers, nutrition coaches, sleep experts, and massage therapists. Members receive 16 hours per month of coaching across three weekly personal training sessions, twice-monthly nutrition and sleep consultations, and monthly massage therapy.

The program’s pricing of $3,000 per month, plus an Equinox membership fee, firmly targets the ultra-wealthy demographic. It launches first in New York City and Highland Park, Texas before a planned nationwide rollout to Equinox’s elite “E Clubs.”

The move allows Equinox to capitalize on the convergence of fitness, nutrition, and biotech while expanding beyond its traditional gym business into preventative health and longevity services for affluent customers. Function Health’s co-founder views it as closing “the loop” to enable people to live 100 healthy years through data-driven daily practices.


Apple lags behind Samsung in Sales

According to data from IDC, in the first quarter of 2024, Apple’s smartphone shipments witnessed a 10% decline, falling to 50.1 million units from 55.4 million a year earlier. This drop was attributed to increased competition from Android manufacturers, with Samsung reclaiming the top spot as the world’s leading phone maker. Thanks to robust sales of its Galaxy S24 series, Samsung’s market share rose to 20.8%.

Meanwhile, Apple slipped to second place with a 17.3% market share, despite a strong performance in the previous quarter. Chinese brands like Huawei continue to expand their presence, intensifying the competitive landscape. Xiaomi remains in third place, holding a 14.1% market share.

The overall global smartphone market grew by 7.8%, totaling 289.4 million units shipped in the January-March period. Apple’s challenges were particularly pronounced in China, where its shipments dipped by 2.1% in the last quarter of 2023 amid local restrictions on the use of its devices.

As Apple gears up for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the tech community is eagerly anticipating updates on its software and potential advancements in artificial intelligence integration. These developments are closely watched by investors, especially after Apple recently lost its title as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft.

The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact on 24-Hour Dining

The pandemic’s impact on late-night dining and retail operations can still be felt years after its onset. Yelp statistics indicate a significant decline in 24-hour service availability, with restaurants experiencing an 18% drop in 24-hour operations from 2020 to 2024. Notably, New York City saw a 13% reduction in its 24-hour restaurants.

This trend extends beyond eateries to retailers, pharmacies, and gyms, which haven’t resumed 24-hour operations since the Covid-19 took hold in America. The change reflects shifts in consumer behavior, including preferences for earlier dining and decreased late-night alcohol consumption, as well as increased labor and food costs which force establishments to curtail hours.

While approximately half of IHOP’s locations and 75% of Denny’s restaurants are resuming 24-hour service on weekends, the overall landscape for 24/7 operations remains challenging, due to concerns about staffing difficulties and public safety.

Despite these obstacles, the desire for 24/7 service remains, evidenced by the enduring appeal of late-night dining as a cultural symbol in America. The transition back to pre-pandemic levels of late-night activity will likely depend on a resurgence of nightlife and events that drive demand for such services.