Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Jan. 03, 2015
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Cash and cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents:  We consider all highly liquid investments purchased with original maturity dates of three months or less to be cash equivalents.  We maintain our cash in bank deposit and money-market accounts, which, at times, exceed federally insured limits.  We have determined that the fair value of the money-market accounts fall within Level 1 of the fair value hierarchy.  We have not experienced any losses in such accounts.
Trade receivables
Trade receivables:  We carry unsecured trade receivables at the original invoice amount less an estimate made for doubtful accounts based on a monthly review of all outstanding amounts.  Management determines the allowance for doubtful accounts by regularly evaluating individual customer receivables and considering a customer’s financial condition, credit history and current economic conditions.  We write off trade receivables when we deem them uncollectible.  We record recoveries of trade receivables previously written off when we receive them.  We consider a trade receivable to be past due if any portion of the receivable balance is outstanding for more than ninety days.  We do not charge interest on past due receivables.  Our management considers the allowance for doubtful accounts of $106 and $27 to be adequate to cover any exposure to loss as of January 3, 2015, and December 28, 2013, respectively.
Inventories:  Inventories, consisting principally of appliances, are stated at the lower of cost, determined on a specific identification basis, or market and consist of the following as of January 3, 2015, and December 28, 2013
January 3,
December 28,
Appliances held for resale


Processed metals to be sold from recycled appliances






We provide estimated provisions for the obsolescence of our appliance inventories, including adjustments to market, based on various factors, including the age of such inventory and our management’s assessment of the need for such provisions.  We look at historical inventory aging reports and margin analyses in determining our provision estimate. A revised cost basis is used once a provision for obsolescence is recorded.
Property and equipment
Property and equipment: Property and equipment are stated at cost. We compute depreciation using straight-line method over a range of estimated useful lives from 3 to 30 years.
We amortize leasehold improvements on a straight-line basis over the shorter of their estimated useful lives or the underlying lease term.  Repair and maintenance costs are charged to operations as incurred.
Property and equipment consists of the following as of January 3, 2015 and December 28, 2013:
Useful Life (Years)
January 3,
December 28,


Buildings and improvements


Equipment (including computer software)


Projects under construction




Less accumulated depreciation and amortization


Depreciation and amortization expense
Depreciation and amortization expense:  Depreciation and amortization expense related to buildings and equipment from our recycling centers is presented in cost of revenues, and depreciation and amortization expense related to buildings and equipment from our ApplianceSmart stores and corporate assets, such as furniture and computers, is presented in selling, general and administrative expenses in the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income.  Depreciation and amortization expense was $1,275 and $1,289 for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Depreciation and amortization included in cost of revenues was $868 and $817 for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Software development costs
Software development costs:  We capitalize software developed for internal use and are amortizing such costs over their estimated useful lives of three years.  Costs capitalized were $143 and $99 for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Amortization expense on software development costs was $134 and $145 for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Estimated future amortization expense is as follows:
Fiscal year 2015

Fiscal year 2016

Fiscal year 2017


Impairment of long-lived assets
Impairment of long-lived assets:  We evaluate long-lived assets such as property and equipment for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable.  We assess impairment based on the estimated future net undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the assets, including cash flows from disposition.  Should the sum of the expected future net cash flows be less than the carrying value, we recognize an impairment loss at that time.  We measure an impairment loss by comparing the amount by which the carrying value exceeds the fair value (estimated discounted future cash flows or appraisal of assets) of the long-lived assets.  We recognized no impairment charges during fiscal years 2014 and 2013 related to long-lived assets.
Goodwill:  We test goodwill annually for impairment.  Additionally, goodwill is tested for impairment between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more-likely-than-not reduce the fair value of an entity below its carrying value. In assessing the recoverability of goodwill, market values and projections regarding estimated future cash flows and other factors are used to determine the fair value of the respective assets.  If these estimates or related projections change in the future, we may be required to record impairment charges for these assets.  We allocate goodwill to our two reporting segments, retail and recycling.  We compare the fair value of each reporting segment to its carrying amount on an annual basis to determine if there is potential goodwill impairment.  If the fair value of a reporting segment is less than its carrying value, an impairment loss is recorded to the extent that the fair value of the goodwill within the reporting unit is less than the carrying value of its goodwill.  To determine the fair value of our reporting segments, we generally use a present value technique (discounted cash flow) corroborated by market multiples when available and as appropriate.  The factor most sensitive to change with respect to the discounted cash flow analyses is the estimated future cash flows of each reporting segment, which is, in turn, sensitive to the estimates of future revenue growth and margins for these businesses.  If actual revenue growth and/or margins are lower than expectations, the impairment test results could differ.  Fair value for goodwill is determined based on discounted cash flows, market multiples or appraised values as appropriate.  As of January 3, 2015 and December 28, 2013, we had goodwill of $38 allocated to our recycling segment which is presented as a component of other assets on the consolidated balance sheets.
Cost of Revenue
Retail segment cost of revenues:  Costs of revenues in our retail segment are comprised primarily of the following:
Purchase of appliance inventories, including freight to and from our distribution centers.
Shipping, receiving and distribution of appliance inventories to our retail stores, including employee compensation and benefits.
Delivery and service of appliances, including employee compensation and benefits, after the appliances are sold to the consumer.
Early payment discounts and allowances offered by appliance manufacturers.
Inventory markdowns.

Recycling segment cost of revenues: Costs of revenues in our recycling segment are comprised primarily of the following:
Transportation costs, including employee compensation and benefits, related to collecting appliances for recycling and delivering appliances under our replacement programs.
Purchase of appliance inventories, including freight to our recycling center warehouses, early payment discounts, and warehousing costs for appliances used in our replacement programs.
Occupancy costs related to our recycling centers.
Cost of recyclable appliances purchased under our GE contract.
Processing costs, including employee compensation and benefits, related to recycling and processing appliances.
Selling, general and administrative expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses:  Selling, general and administrative expenses are comprised primarily of the following:
Employee compensation and benefits related to management, corporate services, and retail sales;
Outside and outsourced corporate service fees;
Occupancy costs related to our retail stores and corporate office;
Advertising costs;
Bank charges and costs associated with credit and debit card interchange fees; and
Other administrative costs, such as supplies, travel and lodging. 
Accounting for leases
Accounting for leases:  We conduct the majority of our retail and recycling operations from leased facilities.  The majority of our leases require payment of real estate taxes, insurance and common area maintenance in addition to rent.  The terms of our lease agreements typically range from five to ten years.  Most of the leases contain renewal and escalation clauses, and certain store leases require contingent rents based on factors such as revenue.  For leases that contain predetermined fixed escalations of the minimum rent, we recognize the related rent expense on a straight-line basis from the date we take possession of the property to the end of the initial lease term.  We record any difference between straight-line rent amounts and amounts payable under the leases as part of accrued rent in accrued expenses, a portion of which is included in other non-current liabilities.  Cash or lease incentives (tenant allowances) received upon entering into certain store leases are recognized on a straight-line basis as a reduction to rent from the date we take possession of the property through the end of the initial lease term.
Product warranty
Product warranty:  We provide a warranty for the replacement or repair of certain defective appliances.  Our standard warranty policy requires us to repair or replace certain defective units at no cost to our customers.  We estimate the costs that may be incurred under our warranty and record an accrual in the amount of such costs at the time we recognize product revenue.  Factors that affect our warranty accrual for covered units include the number of units sold, historical and anticipated rates of warranty claims on these units, and the cost of such claims.  We periodically assess the adequacy of our recorded warranty accrual and adjust the amounts as necessary.

Changes in our warranty accrual, presented as a component of accrued expenses on the consolidated balance sheets, for the fiscal years ended January 3, 2015 and December 28, 2013 are as follows:
For the fiscal years ended
January 3,
December 28,
Beginning balance


Standard accrual based on units sold


Actual costs incurred
Periodic accrual adjustments
Ending balance


Income Taxes
Income taxes We account for income taxes under the liability method.  Deferred tax liabilities are recognized for temporary differences that will result in taxable amounts in future years.  Deferred tax assets are recognized for deductible temporary differences and tax operating loss and tax credit carryforwards.  Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using the enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the periods in which the deferred tax asset or liability is expected to be realized or settled.  We assess the likelihood that our deferred tax assets will be recovered from future taxable income and record a valuation allowance to reduce our deferred tax assets to the amounts we believe to be realizable. We regularly evaluate both positive and negative evidence related to either recording or retaining a valuation allowance against our deferred tax assets.
Share-based compensation
Share-based compensation:  We recognize share-based compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the vesting period for all share-based awards granted.  We use the Black-Scholes option pricing model to determine the fair value of awards at the grant date.  We calculate the expected volatility for stock options and awards using historical volatility.  We estimate a 0%-5% forfeiture rate for stock options issued to employees and Board of Directors members, but will continue to review these estimates in future periods.  The risk-free rates for the expected terms of the stock options are based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of the grant.  The expected life represents the period that the stock option awards are expected to be outstanding.  The expected dividend yield is zero as we have not paid or declared any cash dividends on our common stock. 
Comprehensive Income (loss)
Comprehensive income (loss):  Other comprehensive income (loss) refers to revenues, expenses, gains and losses that under generally accepted accounting principles are included in comprehensive income (loss) but are excluded from net income (loss) as these amounts are recorded directly as an adjustment to shareholders’ equity.  Our other comprehensive income (loss) is comprised of foreign currency translation adjustments.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue recognition:  We recognize revenue from appliance sales in the period the consumer purchases and pays for the appliance, net of an allowance for estimated returns.  We recognize revenue from appliance recycling when we collect and process a unit.  We recognize revenue generated from appliance replacement programs when we deliver the new appliance and collect and process the old appliance. The delivery, collection and processing activities under our replacement programs typically occur within one business day and are required to complete the earnings process; there are no other performance obligations. We recognize byproduct revenue upon shipment.  We recognize revenue on extended warranties with retained service obligations on a straight-line basis over the period of the warranty.  On extended warranty arrangements that we sell but others service for a fixed portion of the warranty sales price, we recognize revenue for the net amount retained at the time of sale of the extended warranty to the consumer.  As a result of our recycling processes, we are able to produce carbon offsets from the destruction of certain types of ozone-depleting refrigerants.  We record revenue from the sale of carbon offsets in the period when all of the following requirements have been met: (i) there is persuasive evidence of an arrangement, (ii) the sales price is fixed or determinable, (iii) title, ownership and risk of loss associated with the credits have been transferred to the customer, and (iv) collectability is reasonably assured.  These requirements are met upon collection of cash due to the uncertainty around collectability and the involvement of various third parties and partners. We include shipping and handling charges to customers in revenue, which are recognized in the period the consumer purchases and pays for delivery.
Advertising expense
Advertising expense:  Our policy is to expense advertising costs as incurred.  Advertising expense was $1,905 and $2,092 for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Taxes collected from customers [Policy Text Block]
Taxes collected from customers:  We account for taxes collected from customers on a net basis.
Basic and diluted income per common share
Basic and diluted income (loss) per common share:  Basic income (loss) per common share is computed based on the weighted average number of common shares outstanding.  Diluted income (loss) per common share is computed based on the weighted average number of common shares outstanding adjusted by the number of additional shares that would have been outstanding had the potentially dilutive common shares been issued.  Potentially dilutive shares of Common Stock include unexercised stock options and warrants.  Basic per share amounts are computed, generally, by dividing net income (loss) by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding.  Diluted per share amounts assume the conversion, exercise or issuance of all potential Common Stock instruments unless their effect is anti-dilutive, thereby reducing the loss or increasing the income per common share.  In calculating diluted weighted average shares and per share amounts, we included stock options with exercise prices below average market prices, for the respective fiscal years in which they were dilutive, using the Treasury stock method.  We calculated the number of additional shares by assuming that the outstanding stock options were exercised and that the proceeds from such exercises were used to acquire common stock at the average market price during the year.  For fiscal year 2014, we excluded options and warrants covering 383 common shares from the diluted weighted average share outstanding calculation as the effect of these options and warrants is anti-dilutive.  For fiscal year 2013, we excluded options and a warrant covering 452 common shares from the diluted weighted average share outstanding calculation as the effect of these options and warrant is anti-dilutive.

A reconciliation of the denominator in the basic and diluted income per share is as follows:
For the fiscal year ended
January 3, 2015
December 28, 2013
(as restated)
Net income attributable to controlling interest



Weighted average common shares outstanding - basic


Employee stock options


Stock warrants


Weighted average common shares outstanding - diluted


Income per common share: