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Archive for Saturday, March 30, 2002

Briefcase

March 30, 2002

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Trading: Markets closed for holiday

Financial and commodity markets were closed in observance of Good Friday. They will reopen Monday.

Bankrupt retailer: Kmart gives financial update

Kmart Corp. recorded a $753 million net loss in the first five weeks after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The nation's third-largest discounter reported a loss of $579 million for the nine-day period ended Jan. 30, and a $174 million loss through Feb. 27, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kmart filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 22.

The Troy, Mich.-based company also reported $2.2 billion in sales for February. Sales at stores open at least a year were down 10.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Kmart has a store and distribution center in Lawrence.

Theaters: AMC completes purchase

Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC Entertainment Inc. has completed its $167 million purchase of GC Cos., the parent company of General Cinemas, AMC said Friday.

The acquisition, approved March 18 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, includes 66 theaters with 621 screens in the United States and a 50 percent stake in a joint venture operating 17 cinemas with 621 screens in South America.

Under the deal, AMC will pay creditors of Chestnut Hill, Mass.,-based GC Cos. a combination of cash and AMC notes and stock.

Utilities: Western can sell building if customers get benefits

Western Resources can sell the former KGE headquarters building to its Protection One home security subsidiary, but the benefits must go to customers, state utility regulators ruled.

The Kansas Corporation Commission ruled this week that cost savings from selling the seven-story building in Wichita  at least $860,000 a year  must be held in trust for potential customer refunds when Western's rates are next adjusted.

Western spokesman Doug Lawrence said the company will go ahead with its plan to sell the building despite the commission's restriction.

Economy: Consumer spending, personal income increase

Consumers spent heavily in February as their incomes increased solidly  more signs that the U.S. economy is gaining strength after a brief recession.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that spending by consumers, which accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States, increased 0.6 percent last month after jumping 0.5 percent in January.

At the same time, Americans' incomes, which include wages, interest and government benefits, also increased by 0.6 percent, the largest expansion since October 2000. Incomes rose 0.5 percent in January.

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