Business memo 08/26/02

Monday, August 26, 2002

New SBC president visits Cape Girardeau

Cindy Brinkley, the president of SBC Southwestern Bell-Missouri, visited Cape Girardeau businesspeople last week at the Chamber of Commerce. Brinkley was appointed to the position in July.

Since November 1999, Brinkley served as president of the Arkansas region, where she was responsible for the company's regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs. She joined the company in 1986.

A native of Milan, Mo., Brinkley holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a degree in political science from Truman State University. She lives in St. Louis.

Auto Tire and Parts to offer Napa parts

Auto Tire and Parts has announced that it will soon be selling Napa parts at all Auto Tire & Parts stores. Over the next few weeks, the store will change buying groups and begin purchasing its parts from Napa instead of Pronto.

Auto Tire and Parts will remain a 100 percent locally owned and operated business and continue to operate with the Auto Tire and Parts name.

Auto Tire and Parts is the area's leading distributor of car, truck and farm parts as well as the largest distributor of Dupont paint and other auto body supplies. The store was founded in Cape Girardeau in 1909 and remains privately owned by the Tlapek family along with local management.

Program for dairy producers set for Sept. 3

A program entitled "Surviving the Dairy Industry" will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Cape Girardeau County Extension Center for dairy producers. The program is for those dairy farmers interested in information on nutrition, reproduction and how to cope with low milk prices.

A meal will be served. The University Extension asks those interested in attending to register with the Wayne County Extension office by calling (573) 224-3035 by Thursday.

Sappington Napa Auto Parts changes name

Sappington Napa Auto Parts announced last week that it was changing its name to Sappington Pro Outdoor. The business said it was changing because there has been an increase in interest in lawn/garden and ATV repairs.

In a release, the company said they will be handling Cub Cadet, White, Troy Bilt and Artic Cat as well as bringing new lines of merchandise, doubling the size of the showroom area area.

Number of unemployment claims dips slightly

WASHINGTON -- The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week, indicating a modest improvement in the labor market.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for jobless benefits totaled 389,000 last week, down 2,000 from the previous week when benefits had posted a gain of 9,000.

The four-week moving average for claims, designed to smooth out weekly fluctuations, rose by 5,750 to 388,250. However, the figure remained below the 400,000 mark for the 10th week, the longest such stretch since the recession began in March of last year.

Economists are closely watching the weekly and monthly jobless reports to try to detect the future course of the current recovery, which most believe began at the beginning of this year but so far has generated little job growth.

Barnes & Noble reports quarterly profit

NEW YORK -- Barnes & Noble Inc. reported its first quarterly profit of the year Thursday, but the results were lower than expected and the company reduced its forecast for the rest of 2002.

For the quarter ending Aug. 3, the bookseller reported a profit of $1.4 million, or 2 cents per share, an improvement from a loss of $1.7 million, or 3 cents per share, reported a year ago. The results were well below the 10 cents per share consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

The earnings reflected 15 cents per share in losses on investments in iUniverse.com, Book magazine and other items.

Southwest Airlines cuts highest fare by one-fourth

DALLAS -- Southwest Airlines said Thursday it was cutting its highest-priced fare by one-fourth in a move aimed squarely at business travelers who fly on other airlines.

Southwest said the top price for a one-way, last-minute ticket on about one-third of its routes would fall immediately to $299 from $399.

American Airlines, Northwest and Delta moved quickly to match Southwest on routes where they compete with the Dallas-based carrier.

Southwest's action is another indication that airlines are having difficulty attracting business travelers during an economic slump. Southwest's passenger count in July fell 8.5 percent from a year ago.

-- From staff, wire reports

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