AEO, happy with sales, solidifies Q4 projections
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reiterated fourth quarter earnings-per-share projections in the range of 54 to 56 cents per share. The South Side teen clothing retailer said total quarterly sales as of Jan. 8 rose 5 percent, although final results for the holiday quarter that continues through January won't be released until March 6. So far, sales at stores open at least a year have risen 5 percent, helped by a strong boost from online business. Excluding e-commerce sales, the gain would have been 1 percent. "Business has accelerated in the post-Christmas period and we are seeing a good response to our spring transition assortment," said CEO Robert Hanson, in the company's announcement.
PIT passenger traffic fell from year-ago November
Passenger traffic fell 2.4 percent at Pittsburgh International Airport in November compared to the same month in 2011. Overall, 658,463 people boarded or got off planes at the airport in November. That's 16,365 fewer than in November 2011. Over the first 11 months of 2012, traffic was down 3.3 percent at the Findlay airport compared to the same period in 2011.
Supervalu will sell big grocery chains
Supervalu Inc. says it reached a deal to sell five of its biggest grocery chains -- Albertson's, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Star Market -- for $100 million in cash and more than $3 billion in debt to AB Acquisition, an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus will also offer to buy up to 30 percent of the remaining Supervalu for $4 per share after the deal closes. Following the closing of the deal, Supervalu, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., will consist of a food wholesaler and regional chains, including Shop 'n Save.
Layoffs push jobless applications higher in Pa.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750. It had fallen to a four-year low the previous week. Applications in Pennsylvania were up 12,483, due to layoffs in the transportation, construction, and food and beverage manufacturing industries. Meanwhile, job openings in the U.S. ticked up 11,000 in November to 3.67 million, the Labor Department said. There were 3.3 unemployed people, on average, competing for each open job. In a healthy economy, the ratio is roughly 2 to 1.
Also in business...
New Perspective Productions and Roberts Communications have merged to form New Perspective Communications, which has offices in the Strip District, employs 26 and has combined billing of nearly $7 million. ... Ford Motor Co. is doubling its quarterly dividend to 10 cents, just nine months after paying its first dividend in more than five years. The company said the last time it paid a 10-cent dividend was in June 2006. ... Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.40 percent from 3.34 percent last week.