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This link has some interesting WSM data and canned analysis, but it is a worthwhile 'point of departure' to do your own crunching. It has links to a Buffet-type analysis which is very negative, as well as links to historical documents from the company.

I am in the 'camp' which sees that WSM has not shown an ability or inclination to manage costs. For example, they brought in the Venator guy at something like a 47% premium to Friedman. Look at the package he was able to negotiate. Plus he still knocks down his Venator bonus of one million. I believe in the adage, 'a hungry dog hunts better'. He seems awfully well-fed. While I don't begrude a person the benefit of his negotiation skill, I think it tells me two things about WSM: 1) they didn't treat Friedman well, when he was staying on even without the bonus; 2) quality folks within the mid- to lower ranks of WSM will naturally bristle when asked to deal with the cost-cutting, in light of their perception of all that. It also suggests concern about WSM's value it places on loyalty: Friedman, the new guy, existing staff (and others thinking about coming on board) and the customer as well.

The purchase of the company headquarters, and the planned expenditures on the distribution system, may be good business, or it may be the financial aneurism about to blow.

The other side of the equation is 'income'. I think folks' perception of the economy will be the driver there. That means WSM needs folks with the skill to manage costs AND drive sales within that perception. From the filings and figures, I don't see that management agrees. Of course, they're the ones making the big bucks for their decisions.

I don't work for WSM and don't know any of the players. Just having a good time playing with my hobby. I could be totally wrong. I bought puts. Here's the link:

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