Business memo 09/08/03

Monday, September 8, 2003

SBA rep to be on hand to answer questions

The U.S. Small Business Administration Satellite Business Information Center will have an SBA representative on hand Thursday to answer questions about small business or to help prospective business owners compile a business plan.

Bev Haake, a business opportunity specialist who administers the 8 (a) business development program, will be available from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Small Business Information Center in the Small Business Development Center in Room 123 of Robert A. Dempster Hall. Different SBA representatives visit the SBDC every Thursday to supply the small business community with resources for growth and development.

To set up a meeting with a specific SBA employee, call the SBDC at the university at 986-6084.

Business After Hours to be held Sept. 16

The Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce will hold its Business After Hours at the Show Me Center from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16. The event will be hosted by the Bank of America and will include hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and door prizes.

Back-to-school sales boost retail figures

NEW YORK -- Consumers spent generously on back-to-school items in August but were still focused on the bottom line, doing most of their shopping at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and other low-priced stores.

But many mall-based apparel stores struggled to keep pace, indicating that a consumer spending recovery is spotty. The nation's merchants reported their August sales last week.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported its best same-store results since June 2002. Sears, Roebuck and Co., powered by robust sales in home appliances, posted its first same-store sales increase in two years. Same-store sales are sales at stores open at least a year, and are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

Swank retailer Neiman Marcus Group also posted August results that were well above analysts' forecasts. But gains at Gap Inc. were disappointing, while teen retailers Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. suffered sharp declines.

-- From staff, wire reports

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