The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Jan. 2008

Jan.
31st

Boeing’s private economic stimulus package

The federal government is talking about distributing $600 checks to citizens as a way to stimulate the lagging economy.


But Boeing has an idea of its own that will make the government’s payout look like petty cash at least to Boeing workers.


The aerospace giant will be handing out bonus checks equal to 15 days pay to some 47,000 workers in the Puget Sound area Feb.21.


The checks to Boeing union engineers and technical workers and to non-represented employees will average around $5,100 for engineers and $4,000 for technical workers, the company said.


The checks are

Read more »

Jan.
31st

Old Navy debuts new logo, takes on Target

According to trade publication Advertising Age, Old Navy wants to change the way you think of its discount clothes and, in the meantime, shore up sales.


Here’s an excerpt from the Ad Age story:


The division of the struggling Gap Inc. is trying to shake off its traditional discount image with a new logo and marketing campaign for the spring 2008 season aimed at women in their 20s. The aim is to recapture some of the market share lost to competitors such as Target in recent years.


The campaign will be officially unveiled today in

Read more »

Jan.
31st

Tacoma gas prices: Enjoy them while you can

The average Tacoma regular gas price hit $3.01 today, down nearly 49 cents from last year’s mid-May high, says AAA Washington


That’s slightly over the national average of $2.986 per gallon but nowhere near the price in Hawaii, $3.479 a gallon.


Don’t count on those prices going much lower, says Olympia-based gasoline guru Tim Hamilton, executive director of Automotive United Trades Organization.


“We’re on the floor now,” said Hamilton. “In Eastern Washington, we’re seeing prices going up already by six or seven cents a gallon.”


Some oil industry analysts see gas prices approaching $3.50 a

Read more »

Jan.
31st

The battle for Milwaukee spreads to Seattle

Milwaukee. A couple of years ago, you couldn’t get there from here at least if you were looking for a non-stop flight.


Now two airlines, Midwest and AirTran, are competing on the route.


Milwaukee is Midwest Airlines’ hub. It established the route to Seattle several months ago. But it got company when AirTran Airways announced recently that it will start seasonal service between Milwaukee and Seattle beginning May 6.



AirTran, which unsuccessfully tried to take over Midwest, now is moving into Midwest’s home territory. AirTran has also announced flights from

Read more »

Jan.
31st

Boeing orders continue piling up

China Eastern Airlines says it is ordering 30 single aisle aircraft from Boeing Co.


The price of those 737s is $1.94 billion at list prices in 2005 when the airline secured options on those aircraft.


The airline said it will begin taking delivery of those planes in 2011.


The China Eastern order is not yet included in Boeing’s weekly order book update which reports the company has recorded orders for a total of 61 aircraft through Tuesday.


Eighteen of those orders are new in the last week. One order was for an additional 737

Read more »

Jan.
31st

Burt Bacharach headlining Murano hotel opening

Q: What’s new, pussycat?

A: The Murano Hotel.


Q: And do you know the way to San Jose?

A: Yes, and Tacoma as well.


I’m working on a story for Monday – it’s one of our regular business Q-and-A pieces – and yesterday I interviewed Howard Jacobs, the chief operating officer at Provenance Hotels.


We had a great discussion about the Murano Hotel, formerly the Sheraton, in downtown Tacoma. I was asking him about the opening gala, sheduled for March 8 at the Pavilion.


A Provenance spokeswoman tells me that the event may

Read more »

Jan.
30th

TrueBlue net income down, revenue up

Tacoma-based TrueBlue, Inc. reported a decrease in net income for fourth quarter of last year due mostly to minimum wage increases and the company’s closing of offices.


TrueBlue is the parent company to Labor Ready and other temporary staffing agencies.


The company generated net income of $14.4 million or $0.33 per diluted share, a decrease from $21.6 million or $0.42 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2006.


“That’s due the pricing pressure of the tough economy,” CEO Steve Cooper said Wednesday. “We have not been able to pass through all the costs … and

Read more »

Jan.
30th

Starbucks, Amazon earnings up

Profit was up at two Northwest companies in today’s earnings announcements, though one did far better than the other.


According to The Associated Press, Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday its fiscal first-quarter profit rose by less than 2 percent, and it detailed plans to open fewer domestic stores and more overseas to revitalize the coffee house chain.


During fiscal 2008, the company plans to open about 425 fewer domestic stores and 75 more overseas than previously planned, for a global total of 2,150 new stores. The company also plans to close about 100 poorly performing stores in the United

Read more »