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Z Gallerie files Chapter 11 for a third time

A slowdown of the housing market and new home sales and continued fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic pushes this furniture and home decor retailer into…



Economic distress has taken down many furniture stores in recent years. The industry's health is closely tied to the performance of residential real estate. When the real estate market slows down or collapses, as it happened in the 2008 Great Recession, furniture stores often are a victim of a downturn.

Iconic Levitz Furniture, a national retailer founded in 1910, almost made it 100 years in business but fell short when it filed for bankruptcy in 2007, liquidated and closed down all its stores in 2008 during the Great Recession. Regional furniture retailer Wickes Furniture, which had 43 stores in the West and Midwest at its peak, also was a victim of that recession as it closed down its business also in 2008.

Related: Popular retailer moves from Chapter 11 bankruptcy to liquidation

Michigan-based regional furniture store Art Van Furniture filed for Chapter 11 in March 2020 just as the Covid-19 pandemic was beginning and liquidated and closed its 190 stores.

Financing crunch forces furniture retailer to liquidate

Upscale furniture maker and retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams more recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and subsequently Chapter 7 liquidation. The retailer, which operated 27 stores in 14 states and several Canadian provinces, abruptly closed all its stores on the weekend of Aug. 26-27 when it was unable to obtain adequate financing to continue operations. The company reopened for business after the weekend, but filed for Chapter 11 on Sept. 6.

The company, which also operated 40 virtual stores and six brick-and-mortar outlet locations, reached the end of the line on Oct. 6 when Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware converted the bankruptcy case to Chapter 7 liquidation in the best interest of the debtors, their estates, creditors and all other interested parties.

The debtor had been trying to secure debtor-in-possession financing to continue operations and was negotiating with its secured lender PNC Bank, which failed, Furniture Today reported.

The parent of Z Gallerie furniture and home decor stores has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Z Gallerie

Z Gallerie seeks a sale of its assets in Chapter 11

The parent company of upscale furniture and home decor retailer Z Gallerie, which operates 21 stores in nine states and has an e-commerce platform, is the most recent in the industry to file for bankruptcy. Gardena, Calif.,-based DirectBuy Home Improvement, an affiliate of parent CSC Generation Holdings, on Oct. 16 filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, claiming a lasting impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on the retail industry and supply chain and import cost increases in late 2021 and into 2022 severely impacted its brand profitability and cash position.

Additionally, the debtor said in court documents that increased interest and mortgage rates have led to a slowing of the housing market and new home purchases, which is a major driver of its brand.

DirectBuy said in court papers that it will try to sell its assets in a Section 363 auction, but if it can't sell, it will resort to an orderly liquidation of its assets and close its stores in the coming months. The debtor is seeking to hire Stump & Co., which is a merger and acquisition advisory firm that specializes in selling furniture companies, to conduct a sale of the retail chain.

The debtor is also seeking $2.2 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its prepetition lenders ZG Lending, which holds $19.8 million in prepetition secured debt. The DIP loan would roll up $1.1 million of the prepetition debt and provide $1.1 million in new money to fund operations during the Chapter 11 case. The DIP lender would retain the right to credit bid the DIP loan and prepetition debt in a 363 auction.

This is the third Chapter 11 filing for parent companies of Z Gallerie, as the retailer also filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and 2019.

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Tesla Stock Has High Expectations: A Strong Pop or Plunge

Sometimes, a stock’s price can tip the market’s hand leading up to an earnings report. You’ll see a strong rally or decline anywhere from days to months…



Sometimes, a stock's price can tip the market's hand leading up to an earnings report. You'll see a strong rally or decline anywhere from days to months before a company lays bare its books. But when you see a chart pattern that hints at indecision, such as a symmetrical triangle, you're likely in for a volatile move and a great upset, which can go either bullish or bearish.

Such is the case of Tesla (TSLA) over the last quarter. And as you can see, the market's judgment favored the bears.

CHART 1: TSLA STOCK BREAKS BELOW SYMMETRICAL TRIANGLE. TSLA missed earnings expectations, which sent the stock price below the symmetrical triangle. Chart source: StockChartsACP. For educational purposes.

Let's back up, look at the bull and bear case, and take a closer look at the pattern itself, its statistical performance, and, most importantly, how you might have traded it.

The Bull Case

Leading up to Q3 earnings, TSLA appeared to be on a roll. It outperformed its sector, Consumer Discretionary, and the S&P 500 index ($SPX) year-to-date.

TSLA was roughly 37% from its all-time high of $414.50, giving it room for growth. It's the most profitable manufacturer in the EV space, and a lot of hope was riding on the company's emerging Cybertruck production. So was the planned launch of its robo-taxi service in late 2024. 

Much was riding on TSLA's guidance as much as its earnings and revenue numbers. 

The Bear Case

The bears' case against TSLA's Q3 performance was simple. Demand for big-ticket items slowed in Q3 amid a high inflation environment. Input cost compressed the company's margins, especially in the midst of its expansion plans. Plus, TSLA is facing increased competition in the EV space. Most importantly, TSLA's stock price, some argued, was still trading at a premium relative to other automakers. Overbought? Not technically, but fundamentally so, apparently.

TSLA's Symmetrical Triangle Formation: A 34% Rise or 12% Fall?

TSLA may have outperformed its sector and the broader market before its earnings report, but that changed quickly after the stock price fell (see relative strength against Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and $SPX in the chart below). The Death Cross further muddied the waters. This is where you have to look more closely at the pattern itself.

CHART 2: TSLA PERFORMANCE AGAINST S&P 500 AND XLY. Falling relative strength and the death cross are bearish signals. Chart source: StockChartsACP. For educational purposes.Symmetrical triangles or "coil" patterns are poor performers (according to Thomas Bulkowski's Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns). They indicate a consolidation phase. They can go either direction despite being considered "continuation patterns." (Toss a coin, anyone?). 

Their value, however, is that they provide a clear setup for bulls and bears. According to Bulkowski, symmetrical triangles result in the following:

  • On average, symmetrical triangles rise 34% when they break upward and fall 12% when they break downward.
  • Their success rate in reaching an upward target (using the formation height) is 58% on the upside but only 36% on the downside.
  • BUT, symmetrical triangles also tend to reverse after a breakout 62% to 65% of the time, meaning you have to be flexible when trading this pattern.

How To Trade TSLA's Symmetrical Triangle

Depending on whether you were leaning bullish or bearish, you could use Bulkowski's historical average performance to set your targets: 34% to the upside or 12% to the downside.

CHART 3: CALCULATING TSLA'S PRICE TARGET BASED ON MEASURED MOVE. According to the measured move of the symmetrical triangle, TSLA stock can fall as low as $163. Chart source: StockChartsACP. For educational purposes.

Using statistical averages:

  • A bullish trader might have calculated 34% of the breakout price, projecting it above the current level. Obviously, that did not pan out, as TSLA broke down.
  • On the bear side, the breakdown took place at $250. The target, 12% below that price, would have given you a target of $220. It's a good idea to place a stop loss just above the breakdown level.

Using a measured approach:

  • To find the measure, first calculate the pattern's height by subtracting the lowest point from the highest point of the triangle (299.30 – 212.35). This gives you a height of 86.95.
  • If the price breakout is upward, then you would add the height (86.95) to the price level of the breakout. Since no upward breakout took place, there's no target. However, the above graph includes where the upside target range might have been if TSLA had broken out toward the upside (red dashed line).
  • Since TSLA broke downward at $250, you subtract $86.95 to project a downside target of $163.05 (rounded to $163.00). As you can see, it greatly differs from using the average decline target of 12% (which was reached).

The Bottom Line

Tesla (TSLA) showcased an uncertain path leading up to its Q3 earnings. While the bullish outlook centered on its year-to-date performance, potential growth space, and dominance in the EV industry, the bearish perspective flagged concerns about the slowing demand in the face of inflation, compressed margins amidst expansion, and increasing competition. 

The symmetrical triangle pattern, known for its unpredictable behavior, further muddied the waters. However, this pattern offers clear setups for optimistic and skeptical investors. The aftermath witnessed a bearish descent for TSLA, reflecting the market's ultimate judgment and underscoring the importance of flexibility when trading in such patterns.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. The ideas and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, or without consulting a financial professional.

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The Pixel Watch 2 marries Google brains with Fitbit brawn in an elegant design

It’s everything I hoped it would be.



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In early October, at Google’s annual Made by Google event, the Android maker announced the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro alongside its second-generation smartwatch, the Pixel Watch 2.

You can order the Pixel Watch 2 for $349 for the Wi-Fi model or $399 for the LTE variant. It comes in matte black, polished silver, or a champagne gold housing paired with vibrant watch bands.

I’ve tested Google’s Pixel Watch 2 for the last two weeks, putting it through its paces, testing out its new stress monitoring feature, and getting in some workouts when I had a chance. And you know what? It’s exactly what I wanted to see in the first-generation Pixel Watch, and that’s not a bad thing at all. 

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Google Pixel Watch 2 pros and cons

Google Pixel Watch 2 Pros and Cons


Fitbit integration enables a bevy of health features

Needs multiple sizes like the Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch

Battery life is just good enough

Battery life is just good enough

Improved software for a more fluid expereince

A nearly identical design

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

I still have the original Pixel Watch, albeit in a matte black finish instead of the polished silver color option I picked this time around. Placing them side by side, color differences aside, I’m having a hard time telling them apart.

The Pixel Watch 2 is the same 41mm size, translating to a 1.2-inch display with a rotating crown for navigating the watch's interface on the right side. Just above it is the lone button, which appears to be slightly larger than last year’s, which helps with finding and pressing it. I struggled with using the button on the original Pixel Watch, and I can’t say I’ve had the same experience with the Watch 2.

Google kept its watch band release mechanism, making removing and replacing watch bands simple. The bands that worked on the first-gen Pixel Watch will work on Watch 2 and vice versa.

On the bottom of the watch are the health-related sensors and four new contact points that weren’t on last year’s model. Those contact points are part of the new charging connection that facilitates a faster charging speed for Watch 2. That, unfortunately, means that last year’s Pixel Watch charger can’t be used on this year’s model.

Related: With Samsung's New Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, Android users continue to have solid options

One small gripe about the new charging cable is that there’s only one way it’ll attach to the bottom of the watch, and that’s with the cord facing the same direction as the watch’s crown. Previously, as long as the charging pad stuck to the bottom of the watch, it was charging.

In addition to the contact points on the bottom of the watch, the sensor array has also expanded, adding more sensors for improved heart rate monitoring and a new stress-sensing feature.

I really enjoy the overall approach and design of the Pixel Watch 2, but after using the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and the Apple Watch Ultra, I do wish there was a second, larger model. The Watch 2’s screen cuts off a lot of text and requires more scrolling than what you’d see on a larger screen, and that goes a long way in improving the overall experience.

Greatly improved battery life

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

One of the biggest complaints about the original Pixel Watch was its battery life. If you were lucky, you could get a full 24 hours of use out of it, but it often meant charging in the middle of the day or skipping wearing it at night to track your sleep.

With the Pixel Watch 2, Google promises over 24-hour battery life to make it easier to track more workouts and your sleep. Over the last two weeks, with an average of 40 minutes of outdoor exercise with GPS active and tracking my sleep, I have been getting about 28 hours of use on a single charge.

While single-day battery life is an issue that plagues many smartwatches, the Pixel Watch 2’s battery performance isn’t something I had to worry about, nor will I complain about, outside of the never-ending wish that smartwatches could last several days.

Pure Google goodness

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

The Pixel Watch 2 runs Wear OS 4.0, the latest and greatest software for Google’s wearable platform. It’s similar to what the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 runs, but without any added features and customizations Samsung tosses in. This is, if you will, the pure version of Wear OS 4.0. If you’re a longtime Pixel user and fan, you’ll know exactly what I mean by that, as that’s what the Pixel experience is known for.

You can install apps from the Play Store, view and interact with notifications, create custom watch faces, and control music playback all from the watch (in addition to the health and fitness features I’ll discuss below). Beyond those staple smartwatch features, there have been some key improvements made to Wear OS 4.0 that have made a big difference in the day-to-day experience.

Performance has been smooth and responsive during testing. Even when I pushed the Pixel Watch 2 during tasks like installing and updating apps while multitasking by signing into the apps as they installed, I didn't notice any sluggishness or overall slowdowns.

Related: Every new device Google announced today, from the colorful Pixel 8 Pro to the souped-up Pixel Watch 2

My favorite addition, by far, is the ability to sync the phone’s Do Not Disturb and Bedtime statuses with the watch. That means I can set a schedule for when the phone should automatically enter Do Not Disturb mode at night and another schedule for when it should enter Bedtime mode, and both of those modes sync with the Pixel Watch 2.

That may sound like a small feature, but in practice, it means that when you lay down at night to sleep, you no longer have to remember to manually put the watch in either mode, stopping it from dinging and vibrating all night while you sleep, thanks to Do Not Disturb, and preventing the screen from lighting up every time you move your wrist thanks to Bedtime mode.

Admittedly, you won’t have to use this all that often, but it’s one that Apple should copy as soon as possible. When switching phones, the process of moving your watch from your old phone to the new one used to require you to factory reset the watch and then set it up all over again on the new phone. However, the Watch’s settings app now has a transfer phone option.

I tried it last night just to see what the process was like, and to my surprise, it took all of 60 seconds to connect the watch to a different phone. Once done, all my settings, including the PIN code I use to unlock the watch, synced over without issue. I literally had to tap a couple of buttons on the phone and another couple on the watch, and it was done.

Google also added native Google Calendar and Gmail apps to the Pixel Watch 2, which means you can view your daily and hourly agenda right from your wrist.

Overall, though, Google made some progress on improving the Wear OS experience with the Pixel Watch 2, and I’m looking forward to seeing continued improvements.

More Fitbit than ever

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

With last year’s launch of the Pixel Watch, we saw Google implement Fitbit’s platform and services into the Watch’s health and fitness features. Fitbit’s longstanding history and user confidence bolstered the Pixel Watch as a fitness device, even though it lacked some basic features at launch.

With the Pixel Watch 2, Google doubled down the amount of Fitbit you’ll find throughout the entire experience, with one caveat. Starting with the Pixel Watch 2 and the Fitbit Charge 6, you’ll need to transition your Fitbit account to a Google-linked account before you can set up and use either device. This is problematic for some, like me, who managed my kids' Fitbit accounts for years, a fact that prevents me from making the migration.

Instead, I had to use a secondary Google account for testing, so I didn’t have any of my account history and achievements that date back over a decade. I only mention this because I’m sure others will have to make a decision similar to mine.

Once you’re set up and running, you’ll experience the new Fitbit app layout comprising three primary tabs. The first is where you’ll find all your health measurements, like your readiness score, steps taken, sleep score, and the new stress score feature that leverages a dedicated sensor on the Pixel Watch 2 to monitor your body for changes that could indicate stress.

When the watch detects one of these instances, you’ll receive an alert on your watch asking you how you’re feeling at that moment. You can pick from optics like stressed, frustrated, or content. If you pick the former two, the watch suggests walking or doing one of the built-in breathing exercises to ease stress.

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

My experience with the new stress tool has been impressive. The first day I wore the Watch 2, I received a prompt early in the day that it had, down to the exact minute, detected I could be stressed. Indeed, I was at that time, and I could log it in the app. Since then, I’ve randomly received the same prompt, sometimes when I felt perfectly content and other times when I was overly frustrated.

Over time, having a log of these moments is a handy way to put a spotlight on how well I handle or don’t handle stressful situations.

I don’t quite understand Fitbit’s readiness score and how it’s measured. You have to wear the watch for a specific number of days, monitoring your activity and your sleep, and then each day, you’ll get a readiness number to help you see how recharged your body is for the day’s tasks. The first few days, I had a readiness score available to me, but it was never more than a score of 1. Yes, 1. And then, I took a single day break from wearing the Pixel Watch 2, and my readiness score disappeared for a few days again. In the Fitbit app, there’s a prompt letting me know my score is being fine-tuned, and after 14 days of use, it’ll be more accurate. Perhaps that’s the case, but it sure feels like a lot of work.

Outside of the extra features, the Fitbit app still has all of its staple features for measuring how long and well you slept, counting your steps, and tracking workouts, and it does all of that just as well as Fitbit’s apps always have. 

Bottom line: Is the Pixel Watch 2 worth it?

Jason Cipriani/TheStreet

If you’re shopping for a smartwatch that works with an Android phone, you have a few options. You can go with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 lineup, which arguably offers the best overall experience for Android users, or you can go with Google’s Pixel Watch 2. With the Galaxy Watch 6, you’re getting a heavily Samsung experience and have more options for design and size.

With the Pixel Watch 2, you’re getting an arguably more elegant design, though you have to be happy with just one size, and a full-on Google-tailored experience that’s going to continue to get new features and updates before the rest of the Wear OS smartwatches.

At $349 for the Wi-Fi model ($399 for the LTE version), it’s priced in line with the rest of the Android smartwatch market while also admitting it’d be a lot more attractive if it were priced under $300.

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Google Pixel Watch 2 specs

Google Pixel Watch 2 Specifcations

Pixel Watch 2


41-milimeter (1.2-inches)

Operating System

WearOS 4.0


Qualcomm SW5100

Memory (RAM)







Aluminum case


Matte black, Polished silver, or Champagne gold


$349 for Wi-Fi or $399 for Wi-Fi + LTE


The #PixelWatch2 might look like the PixelWatch, but it improved with better performance and health features. #wearos #fitbit #smartwatch #googlepixel #teampixel #circular #hold

♬ A Cover Is Not the Book - Emily Blunt & Lin-Manuel Miranda & Company - Mary Poppins Returns

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.

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Chick-fil-A puts out a ‘woke’ cookbook

The fast-food chain hopes to foster a new conversation.



As the company that regularly tops rankings of fast food chains with the highest customer loyalty, fried chicken and sandwich chain Chick-fil-A has a base of fans who see it as the alternative to all things "woke."

As Chick-fil-A was founded by and remains run by a family of Southern Baptists, all of its 2,600-plus locations across the U.S. remain shuttered on Sundays. The chain also became the subject of a national firestorm when, in 2012, then-CEO Dan T. Cathy made a number of comments against LGBTQ people and some customers dug up that the chain regularly donated to Christian charities campaigning against same-sex marriage.

Related: People Still Value Chick-Fil-A's Service Above All Other Chains

While sales from its conservative fans soared in response and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee even declared Aug. 1 to be "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," much has changed in the following decade. The chain committed to fully divesting from organizations opposing same-sex marriage in 2019 and, most recently in May 2023, hired a VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that its staff can "combine [...] unique backgrounds and experiences with a culture of belonging."


Chain says more can be done

And now, according to at some of Chick-fil-A's most vocal customers, it has released a new seemingly left-leaning cookbook. On Oct. 16, the fast-food chain announced that it was releasing a free digital cookbook meant to draw attention to "food insecurity and the importance of reducing food waste."

More Food + Dining:

The Extra Helpings: Inspiring Stories and Imaginative Recipes from Chick-fil-A Shared Table features 26 recipes for breakfasts, main meals and desserts from some of the charities the chain partners with for its food donations program.

"Our goal for ‘Extra Helpings’ is not only to inspire individuals to reimagine their extra food into new, delicious recipes, but also spark conversations about the important issues of food insecurity and food waste," Brent Fielder, senior director of corporate social responsibility for Chick-fil-A, said in a statement. "[...] While we're pleased with this milestone, we know there is more work to be done, which is why we're spotlighting this important issue."

Here is why some food chains attract right-wing outrage online

While the cookbook has not attracted nearly as much attention as the new DEI exec (several prominent far-right personalities called for boycotts), there were some rumblings on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter about how this was one more sign that the company was "going woke."

Any talk around plant-based foods or shifting toward an eco-friendlier way of eating also tends to set off certain cohorts. One such controversy occurred in August 2022 when Southern-style restaurant chain Cracker Barrel  (CBRL) - Get Free Report announced that it was adding plant-based sausage made by Impossible Foods to its breakfast menu as one among many other options.

The Facebook post announcing the new menu offering blew up with thousands of comments about how the customer had "lost respect for a once great Tennessee company" and how the company would "go woke and go broke." 

In a recent earnings call that missed analyst expectations, Cracker Barrel admitted that some of its messaging over the past year "failed to deliver."

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