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Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Briefcase

February 21, 2002

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Martha meets expectations

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, bruised by a slump in advertising in its television and publishing segments, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings fell 3 percent but still matched Wall Street expectations.

The multimedia company also said that it expected earnings for 2002 to be slightly below analysts' projections.

Company executives declined to talk about whether it planned to continue to sell the Martha Stewart Everyday brand to Kmart Corp., which filed Jan. 22 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Martha Stewart Living earned $5.7 million, or 12 cents per share, compared to net income of $5.9 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

Kmart CEO Chuck Conaway, above left, met with Martha Stewart, during the Oct. 3 debut of Martha Stewart Everyday Kitchen.

Travel: Airlines add flights from KCI

Two airlines are adding flights out of Kansas City International Airport.

Midwest Express Airlines announced Wednesday that it would add a third daily nonstop flight, beginning April 7, from KCI to New York's LaGuardia Airport. Service from KCI to Iowa's Des Moines International Airport will resume in April.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Vanguard Airlines, meanwhile, announced that it would start service April 22 to Orlando International Airport in Florida.

Communications: Cell phone 'shields' all talk, no protection, regulators say

Some shields touted as protecting cell phone users from radiation don't work as advertised and may cause the wireless devices to emit even more energy, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

The agency announced it had filed charges against two companies for promoting shields with unsupported claims such as "prevents electromagnetic waves from penetrating the brain" and "blocks up to 99 percent of the radiation."

"There is no scientific evidence that their products work as they claim," said Howard Beales, the FTC's director of consumer protection.

Privacy: Rental car firm must return fines for speeding

A car rental company that used global positioning satellites to track customers and fined speeders $150 must stop the practice and give refunds, Connecticut's consumer protection commissioner said Wednesday.

Acme Rent-a-Car, of New Haven, Conn., claimed the fines were a deterrent, not a penalty, and were necessary to cover the excessive wear and tear on cars driven at high speeds. But commissioner James T. Fleming said the amount was excessive and company did not adequately inform customers in advance.

Acme's policy was to fine renters $150 each time a car exceeded 79 mph for more than two minutes.

Real estate: Ernst & Young to stay in KC

Big Five accounting firm Ernst & Young announced Wednesday that it had renewed its lease for renovated space at the One Kansas City Place office building in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

The firm signed a lease for another six years in the building, where nearly 300 Ernst & Young employees now work.

Ernst & Young has 84,000 employees who provide audit, tax, corporate finance and transaction services for businesses in more than 130 countries.

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