Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, April 23, 1999

Halekulani ranked world's best hotel

The Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki is the best hotel in the world, according to a survey conducted among the 5 million readers of Gourmet magazine.

The survey results, being reported in the magazine's May issue, shows hotels in other countries in the next five spots on the top 10 list, with a Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla., ranking sixth.

More than 150 hotels, resorts and inns in 27 countries were ranked in general and specific categories that included such things as tops for dining, bars, pools, workout centers and romance.

Cox purchasing Media General

RICHMOND, Va. -- Cox Communications Inc., a leading cable television and telecommunications provider, said it will purchase Media General Inc. cable systems serving northern Virginia in a $1.4 billion deal.

Atlanta-based Cox serves 450,000 customers in southeastern Virginia and Roanoke for such services as cable television, high-speed Internet access and long distance telephone.

Telecom giants to merge in Europe

LONDON -- Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom have announced a long-anticipated agreement to merge in an $80 billion deal that ranks as one of the largest corporate unions of all time. They would form a giant phone company with more than 100 million customers in Europe, Latin America and Asia.


Corporate Earnings

Sears earnings up 36% despite softer sales

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears, Roebuck & Co. said its first-quarter profits jumped 36 percent as its credit-card business improved, offsetting weak sales at its auto centers and department stores.

For the three months ended March 31, profit from operations rose to $146 million, or 38 cents a share, from $109.3 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. The results, announced yesterday, beat the average estimate of 34 cents a share, according to a survey of analysts by First Call Corp.

Revenue fell 2.1 percent to $9.04 billion from $9.23 billion last year. Sales at stores open at least a year, an industry measure of performance, rose 1.9 percent.

The nation's largest department store company, based in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, reported it cut delinquency rates and charge-offs in its profitable credit card business. Sears has had weak clothing sales recently as it loses business to competitors.

GTE dials up 16% rise in quarterly profits

IRVING, Texas -- GTE Corp., the U.S. local telephone company being acquired by Bell Atlantic Corp., said first-quarter profit rose 16 percent on strong growth in wireless and long-distance services.

Profit from operations rose to $723 million, or 74 cents a share, from $624 million, or 65 cents, in the year-earlier period. That matched the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call Corp. Revenue for the parent of Hawaiian Tel rose 8 percent to $5.9 billion from $5.5 billion. That was paced by an 81 percent increase in sales from GTE Internetworking data services and a 51 percent rise in sales from long-distance services, according to Bloomberg News.

Sizzling sales help lift McDonald's net 11%

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp., the world's largest restaurant chain, said first-quarter profit increased 11 percent on higher sales in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Net income rose to $402.7 million, or 29 cents a share, from $362.2 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier. The results matched the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call Corp., Bloomberg News reported.

Jack Greenberg, who became chief executive of the hamburger chain last August, has turned around the U.S. business by decentralizing management, cutting costs and improving food quality.

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