Archive for Friday, December 3, 2004

Briefcase

December 3, 2004

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MGP Ingredients invests in efficiency

Atchison-based MGP Ingredients Inc. is investing $3.6 million in projects designed to make operations more efficient.

The company's board of directors voted Thursday to approve financing for new equipment at company plants in Atchison and Pekin, Ill.

The projects -- to reduce waste material in Atchison and to save energy at the Pekin distillery -- are scheduled for completion in July, the company said.

Retail

Same-store sales slip at Payless ShoeSource

Shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource Inc.'s same-store sales fell 2.3 percent in November for locations open at least a year, as the Topeka-based company continues plans to focus on its core business, Payless reported Thursday.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 27 fell 1 percent to $206.4 million from $208.5 million.

Same-store sales fell 0.6 percent for the first 10 months of fiscal 2004, while total sales declined 0.2 percent to $2.34 billion from $2.35 billion.

Kmart

SEC files fraud suit

Federal regulators Thursday filed civil fraud charges Thursday against three former Kmart Corp. executives and five current and former managers of big vendor companies, saying they engineered a $24 million accounting fraud by the retailing giant in 2000-2001.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been investigating Kmart's decline into bankruptcy in 2002, said the discount retailer inflated earnings by improperly booking millions of dollars of payments from the vendors -- Eastman Kodak Co., Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., and PepsiCo Inc. and its Frito-Lay division.

Real Estate

Mortgage rates jump

Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages increased sharply this week as expanding economic activity elevated inflation concerns among Wall Street investors.

Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey released Thursday, said rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed this week to 5.81 percent, up from 5.72 last week. This week's rate was the highest since early October.

Employment

Cerner to add jobs

Medical software provider Cerner Corp. plans to add at least 400 new local jobs as it continues its "explosive growth," company officials said this week.

Cerner also has signed a lease for the former headquarters of bankrupt Farmland Industries Inc., a five-story building near the company's North Kansas City campus.

Most of the new jobs will be for software developers making an average of $50,000 a year, said Gary Sage, executive vice president of the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City.

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