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Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Briefcase

August 13, 2003

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Coke offers to settle dispute with Burger King

Coca-Cola has offered to pay up to $21.1 million to Burger King and its restaurants to repair damage caused by allegations that the soft drink company's employees rigged a marketing test of Frozen Coke at the fast-food outlets.

Coca-Cola will pay $1,000 to each restaurant that had a Frozen Coke machine as of May 2000, Burger King chief executive Brad Blum said Tuesday in a letter to restaurant owners. It also would pay part of any repair costs for possibly defective machines and make up any losses that Burger King franchisees had with the equipment through June, Blum said.

Coca-Cola's offer also includes a $6.4 million payment to Burger King, which the company plans to use for advertising, according to a copy of the letter.

Eighty percent of Burger King franchisees must approve the terms of the agreement, Blum said.

Wall Street

Retailers report improved earnings

Three major retailers -- J.C. Penney Co. Inc., May Department Stores Co., and OfficeMax Inc. -- reported improved second-quarter results in a period that was hobbled by unseasonably cool weather and a waning of consumer confidence.

They were the first of the pack of retailers to release their report card on the second quarter, and there's anticipation for a rosier second half, kicked off by what merchants hope will be a healthy back-to-school season helped by tax rebates and an improving economy and stock market.

J.C. Penney said it lost 2 cents per share for the quarter, down from a 5 cent per share loss in the same period last year. May lost 39 cents per share compared to a profit of 22 cents per share a year ago. The results included a one-time charge of 69 cents a share related to closing 34 of its stores. OfficeMax reported a loss of 21 cents per share, down from a loss of 27 cents per share a year ago.

Kansas International

State's top exporter to speak at meeting

The president of a Kansas City, Kan., company that won the state's top exporting award will be the featured speaker at the next Kansas International meeting.

Jeff Weiner, president of American Crane and Tractor Parts Inc., will talk about the exporting success of the company, which ships remanufactured crane and tractor parts to 64 countries. The company won the 2003 Kansas Governor's Exporter of the Year Award.

The meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. Friday at Alvamar Country Club, 1809 Crossgate Drive. There is a $15 charge to attend. Reservations can be made by calling the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce at 865-4426 or by e-mail at kbittenbender@lawrencechamber.com.

Financial services Schwab to cut branches

Steadily shrinking stock brokerage Charles Schwab Corp. disclosed plans Tuesday to fire 250 more workers and close about 20 more branches by year's end.

The cutbacks would result in charges of $35 million to $50 million during the second half of the year, Schwab said in its quarterly report to shareholders.

The San Francisco-based company absorbed restructuring charges of $24 million during the first half of the year, when it earned $126 million.

Schwab's management believes the company needs to remain frugal to bolster profits during a tepid economic recovery.

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