Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Governor plans June trip to S. Korea, Vietnam

Gov. Ben Cayetano leaves on a 10-day visit to South Korea and Vietnam on June 8, looking for business opportunities for Hawaii and improve relations.

It will be his first visit to Vietnam.

"We'll be talking to Vietnamese tourism officials to see whether there are prospects for Vietnam and Hawaii to do business," Cayetano said yesterday.

There also will be meetings with government officials, business organizations and a visit to a university, he said.

"Vietnam, like many of the Asian countries, has a need for professional services and that's high on our agenda. We don't export products, but we can export professional services and that's what we've done in the Philippines and China and places like that," Cayetano said. "Vietnam may offer opportunities."

Professional services Hawaii has exported include engineering, architecture and pollution solutions, he said.

In South Korea, the visit mostly involves tourism with meetings with business people and university officials.

"I'm looking forward to this trip, I'm looking forward to going to Vietnam," he said.

Federated net income rises 53% in quarter

Cincinnati >> Federated Department Stores Inc.'s first-quarter earnings rose 53 percent as the owner of the Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains reduced inventory and increased sales of more-profitable store-brand items.

Net income rose to $89 million, or 43 cents a share, the company said. That was 1 cent higher than the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Sales in the period ended May 4 fell 2.9 percent to $3.45 billion, a fifth straight decline.

Chief Executive James Zimmerman shut stores and slashed inventory by 6 percent to limit price cuts. The retailer also boosted profit margins by selling more of its own brands, including Charter Club and Arnold Palmer apparel. Federated forecast second-half sales will rise, giving it an annual increase of about 1.5 percent for stores open at least a year.

"They were much less promotional," said Lee Backus, analyst with Buckingham Research Group.

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