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Why Did SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Shares Drop 11.6% in October?

What happened

In light of flagging attendance, SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) cut 350 positions in mid-October. The jobs were mostly in the corporate office, but the parks in Orlando and San Diego were also impacted.

"It is an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence of the restructuring that some positions will be lost," spokeswoman Aimée Jeansonne Becka said in a statement that was reported by CNN Money.

Not every position that was cut involved a layoff. Some were open jobs that simply won't be filled.

SeaWorld still has whales, but it will not be raising any more. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

SeaWorld's namesake parks are theme parks without a clear direction after they came under fire for how they treated their killer whales and other sea life. Consumers, especially in Orlando where Universal Studios and Disney World are located, aren't lacking in choices. With the sea-life-based parks lacking direction, there's less reason for tourists to visit them. The company has tried to shift the focus of its parks by adding more rides, but consumers have not reacted well. That has led to steady attendance drops, and investors are wary.

After closing September at $12.99 shares dropped to $11.48, an 11.6% fall, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Now what

SeaWorld has offered heavy discounts, free meals, and other perks to get people into their parks. None of it has worked. The company has also invested heavily in new experiences, but that's extra challenging in Florida where it faces such top-tier competition.

Things are bleak for the brand and there's little reason to expect a turnaround. This is a company that might be better off selling itself for pieces or trying a massive rebrand of its signature properties.

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Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.