Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Ryder System to offer used trucks for sale

Ryder System Inc., the worldwide truck rental business, has opened a used-truck sales department at its Honolulu facility at 545 Lagoon Drive. The "vehicle satellite sales center" offers a small selection of used vehicles for sale, said Ryder headquarters in Miami.

Ryder has similar sales bases across the country, offering mostly "road-ready" vehicles with 30-day warranties, the company said. It also sells used trucks on the Internet at

Hawaiian Natural Water parent declares dividend

Amcon Distributing Co., the parent of Hawaiian Natural Water Co., declared a dividend of 3 cents per share yesterday, matching the payout it made in the previous quarter.

The dividend will be payable June 21 to shareholders of record as of May 31. Amcon's stock currently yields 2.7 percent. The Omaha, Neb., distributor of consumer products purchased Hawaiian Natural Water in December.

Cisco gaining share in routers and switches

CHICAGO >> Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. , the No. 1 maker of gear that directs Internet traffic, picked up market share in almost every router and switch segment in the first quarter, a report said today.

Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., extended its lead in many segments, including high-end routers that operate at speeds higher than 10 gigabits per second where it competes with Juniper Networks Inc. , and switches, according to networking market research firm Dell'Oro Group. This follows similar gains made by Cisco in the fourth quarter.

A router is a machine that connects two computer networks for the transmission of data and information, while a switch looks at incoming data to determine the destination address.

'Spider-Man' sales may hurt 'Star Wars'

New York >> Hasbro Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and General Mills Inc. are spending millions on "Star Wars" merchandise that may be overshadowed by the success of "Spider- Man," analysts say. "A lot of the licensees for 'Star Wars' -- if not holding their breath -- must have their fingers crossed," said Jim Neal, principal with Kurt Salmon Associates, a retailing and manufacturer consulting firm. "'Spider-Man' came out of the box so heavily."

"Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" opened today, just two weeks after Sony Corp.'s "Spider-Man," which reached $200 million in ticket sales in a record nine days.

Gap CEO switching to basics to spur sales

San Francisco >> Gap Inc. Chief Executive Millard Drexler is clearing racks of ruffled shirts and fashions that fizzled, returning to tried-and-true styles to spur sales after two years of declines.

Analysts say Drexler realizes that straying from Gap's traditional look was costly: The stock, which gained 7 cents today to $16.89, is still less than a third of the $51.69 it reached in February 2000. Gap, the largest U.S. clothing retailer, cut prices by as much as 80 percent last quarter to get rid of merchandise, according to a Bloomberg News report. That led to a profit decline.

Drexler is ordering more denim, khaki and classics such as cotton sweaters at the retailer's Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores after saying in February he was through with trendy clothing. Switching back to basics at Gap will take at least until the end of summer, analysts said. That's when Drexler's plan will be tested.

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