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Archives: July 2008

July
31st

Oil may be down, but airfares resume upward climb

Northwest Airlines Wednesday night initiated an $80 roundtrip airfare increase on over 4,000 routes for both leisure and business travelers.


The airline was careful about attempting to raise fares only on routes without significant low-fare competition.


The fare increase attempt, which could be withdrawn if competitors don’t match it, is the first in about a month by a major U.S. airline.


Previously airlines had been initiating about one airfare increase attempt a week. Airlines have initiated 21 wide ranging airfare increases this year, said Rick Seaney, chief executive of FareCompare.com.


Though crude oil prices

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July
31st

Wii sales propel Nintendo profits

Sales of the interactive Wii game console rose 51 percent over last year propelling quarterly profits at Japan’s Nintendo to a 34 percent increase.


The company, whose U.S. headquarters is in Redmond, today reported net profits of $988 million for the quarter ending June 30.


The company sold 5.2 million Wii machines in the April through June period, double the combined sales of rival game machines, Sony’s PlayStation3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.



The game company, however, told analysts that its yearly profits would drop to nine percent because of slowing

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July
31st

Gas now selling for below $3.90 a gallon here

The lines were three cars deep at the ARCO station at Portland and Puyallup avenues in Tacoma this afternoon as motorists enjoyed an unfamiliar sight: the sign on the pumps read $3.89 a gallon.


“Who would’ve thought that we’d be celebrating because gas is $3.89 a gallon?” said Melissa Bernovich of Browns Point.


She and her husband Guy were filling up their min-van for a trip to Portland.


It’s been a long time since he’d seen regular on the downhill side of $4, he said. “Let’s hope this is a positive trend.”


It’s been just

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July
30th

Starbucks loses money as it cuts jobs, closes stores

The Associated Press reported today that Starbucks posted a loss for its third quarter and also lowered its outlook for the year and said it would open fewer new locations.


Here’s more from the AP story: But the company kept its profit guidance intact for fiscal 2009, easing investors’ fears about the economy’s effect on the year ahead.


“I don’t think anyone’s really focused on the quarter,” said Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo. “Everyone is thinking of next year.”


The company reported a loss of $6.7 million, or 1 cent per share, compared to a profit of

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July
30th

First it was baggage fees, now it’s “no bags” flights

Just when you’ve gotten over the shock of checked baggage fees that can approach the price of a ticket, a European discount airline is proposing to eliminate checked baggage entirely on some flights.


Dublin’s Ryanair, a pioneering European discount airline that has eliminated seatback pockets and window shades and sold ads on seatback trays to pare costs, is now proposing to make some of its flights carry-on bags only.


Ryanair says it wants to speed up the turnaround of certain flights and cut the handling costs and weight by designating some flights for no checked bags.


The

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July
30th

Is Port of Tacoma trade turning the corner?

New figures from the Port of Tacoma show container trade at the Tideflats port is up in June for the third month in a row.


This upward trend in April, May and June has almost erased the downward drift in the first three months of the year. For the first half, container numbers at the port were off just .6 percent or 5,662 20-foot container units.


After a nearly seven percent drop in container volume last year, could this upswing portend a restoration of the port’s growth curve?


Port of Tacoma executive director Tim Farrell thinks several

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July
29th

Gas at less than $4/gallon at a dozen stations

A dozen gas stations in the Tacoma area have joined the price-cutting frenzy this week after a Puyallup Tribe gas station late last week cut regular prices to $3.99 a gallon.


According to tacomagasprices.com 12 stations were selling gas below $4 a gallon Tuesday in Pierce County. The prices dipped as low $3.92 a gallon at the Safeway at 707 S. 56th.


The Flying J truck stop on Port of Tacoma Road was just a cent higher, and the perennial low price ARCO at Puyallup and Portland avenues matched that price.


The average price in the

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July
29th

Fare war continues to California

The fare war between Alaska Airlines and two new entrants in the Seattle-Southern California shuttle business continues into the fall.


Both JetBlue, which flies between Long Beach and Sea-Tac and Virgin America, which flies Los Angeles-Seattle, have posted discount fares for the fall, and Alaska has generally matched them.


Despite airline price rises throughout the domestic route structure, you can still buy a Sea-Tac LAX or Long Beach trip for a little more than $200 on some days.


United Airlines, the other incumbent carrier in the California-Seattle business, is cutting back flights and appears to be raising

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