Cablevision: The Wiz Beaten


Cablevision Systems Corp. -- which revealed a major restructuring of its
businesses in August, including shuttering 26 unprofitable The Wiz electronics
stores -- has thrown in the towel on the consumer-electronics business.

Late Monday, the company said it was exploring its options concerning The Wiz
operation, including selling or closing its remaining 17 stores by the end of
the second quarter.

In a terse statement, Cablevision said The Wiz made a number of changes to
improve customer service while continuing to evaluate its performance and

"However, continuing to operate the stores is no longer a viable option for
Cablevision as business conditions at the retailer eroded due to a weakened
retail economy and other factors," the MSO said in the statement.

Cablevision purchased The Wiz chain of retail electronics stores in 1998 for
about $80 million. But the regional retailer, which operates in the New York
metropolitan area, has been a drain on the MSO's finances.

In the third quarter -- the most recent financial figures available -- the 17
remaining Wiz stores reported a $25 million adjusted-operating-cash-flow
deficit, compared with a $14.5 million AOCF deficit in the same period a year