Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, January 5, 1999

Isle sales by check rose 1.1% in Dec.

Sales of goods purchased by check last month in Hawaii rose 1.1 percent over December 1997, according to a company that monitors such sales.

TeleCheck Services Inc. said the same-store sales increase locally compared with a 1.9 percent jump nationally. Houston-based TeleCheck says check purchases account for about 37 percent of retail spending nationally. It does not release sales volumes, only percentage changes.

Calif. citrus freeze squeezes Dole's net

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- Dole Food Co., the world's largest fresh-fruit producer, said it will take a $20 million charge in the fourth quarter for a freeze that damaged its California citrus crops late last month.

The crop damage also will reduce 1999's profit from operations by $10 million to $15 million, mainly to cover the lost fruit, Dole said. Three packing plants in California's San Joaquin Valley also will be closed for most of the year, the company said. The California damage comes just months after Hurricane Mitch ruined much of Dole's Central American banana plantations and its Honduran beverage business. Weather-related charges will total about $120 million in the quarter, Bloomberg News reported.'s sales triple in 4th quarter

NEW YORK Inc.'s fourth-quarter sales more than tripled from a year ago, boosted by a strong holiday season when more than a million new customers bought from the giant Internet bookseller. But the Seattle-based company said today that the big sales gains will not reduce its expected losses for the fourth quarter. Wall Street analysts estimate a loss of 56 cents a share for the period.'s stock closed up $6.19 at $124.50 today in Nasdaq trading. That reflects a 3-for-1 stock split that took effect today.'s fourth-quarter sales were $250 million, up from $66 million a year ago.

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