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Locally Known Names Surface In Business Article

The U.S. News website as it appeared Monday.

The U.S. News website as it appeared Monday.

SANATOGA PA – A popular news magazine speculated Friday (Feb. 6, 2009) over the fate of 15 nationally known firms said to be in serious financial trouble, and mentioned companies that currently play prominent roles within the village’s award-winning business district.

Among “15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009,” identified by U.S. News And World Report, were:

  • Rite Aid, which operates a store at 2217 E. High St.;
  • Chrysler Corp., which lost its Norco Auto Group dealership at 2148 E. High St. when it closed last October; and
  • Realogy Corp., which owns both the Coldwell Banker real estate franchise, an affiliate of which is located at 1800 E. High St., and the Century 21 real estate franchise, an affiliate of which has offices at 2047 E. High St.

The products of a fourth company named in the article, Sirius Satellite Radio, can be found inside dozens of vehicles parked on driveways across Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township.

U.S. News said it examined ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and data from other sources to “develop a short list of potential victims (of financial problems) that ought to be familiar to most consumers. Many of these firms are in industries directly hit by the slowdown in consumer spending, such as retail, automotive, housing and entertainment,” it said. Most, it added, also have limited available cash, high debt, and large interest payments due over the next 12 months.

It’s possible nothing will happen to companies on the list, the article conceded. But the odds are good, it said, that some or all will “look a lot different a year from now than they do today.”

The magazine characterized heavily indebted Rite Aid as a drug retailer with “mounting losses (and) no turnaround in sight.” It called Chrysler the automotive “weakling that can’t cut it in tough times,” because its car sales are down 40 percent and it “desperately needs cash.” It described Realogy as the biggest real estate firm in the country, then added, “but that’s a bad thing when there are double-digit declines in both sales and prices, as there were in 2009.”

It’s important to note that brokerages operating in Sanatoga and elsewhere under Realogy franchise names are independently owned and operated. The national firm’s financial difficulties are no reflection on affiliated brokers’ performance. In fact, real estate industry experts say the downward trend of home sales and prices has been felt less in the Greater Philadelphia market than in other areas around the country.

About Sirius, U.S. News said its music may rock but its merger with XM Satellite Radio “hasn’t generated the savings needed to make the company profitable.”

Other companies in fiscal straits, according to the magazine, are Claire’s Stores, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Station Casinos, Loehmann’s Capital Corp., Sbarro, Six Flags, Blockbuster, Krispy Kreme, Landry’s Restaurants, Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings, and BearingPoint.

Business areas defined by the village district.

Business areas defined by the village district.

Lower Pottsgrove won the Montgomery County (PA) Planning Commission’s 2002 Planning Merit Award for its creation of the Sanatoga Village District as “an excellent example of the township’s dedication to … future planning and economic development.”

Images from US News and World Report, and Lower Pottsgrove Township

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