The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 11, 1991 · Page 25
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 25

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Friday, October 11, 1991
Page 25
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THE QNCINNATI ENQUIRER FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1991 B-9 Amex stocksB-12n Mutual fundsB-10O NASDAQ selectB-12 NYSE stocksB-11 ) .Retail sales report disappoi Portfolio 3100 Consumers keeping spending in check Sales at a glance 3050 iUSINESS NEWS: 369-1962 Ultlllg THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MM and THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER M A dismal September sales re 3000 2950 2900 HH port by the nation's largest retailers Thursday dimmed prospects for the Christmas shopping season and cast further doubt on the noen LJ EaJ km strength of the economic recov 30 1 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 ery. Sept. Oct "The consumer did not come in for a back-to-school season," said Thomas Tashjian, an analyst with First Manhattan Inc. He said retailers were marking down merchandise earlier than usual in hopes of bringing in sales. Among Cincinnati retailers, same-store sales at U.S. Shoe Corp. were up 0.6, as the company said it had to market more aggressively and more heavily for those sales. At Mercantile Stores Co. Inc., the parent company of McAlpin's, same-store sales rose 2.8. Federated and Allied stores will report September sales later. Discount stores continued to draw business away from department stores and general merchandisers. But even sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has been largely immune from the industry's problems, fell short of the company's usual strong performance. Kmart Corp., which had improved sales in recent months, also found itself in the doldrums. Overall results, while not unexpected, were a disappointment to retailers, whose slump predates the recession. They also confounded many economists who have been saying consumers would increase their spending levels. September changes in retail sales, for stores open at least one year. Includes only publicly held merchandise retailers. Top 5 retailers Wal-Mart 7 Kmart 1.4 Sears -0.9 JCPenney 0.1 Dayton-Hudson 5.1 Biggest gainers Biggest losers 50-Off Stores Inc. 35.5 Claire's Stores -10 Texas apparel discounter Women's accessories specialist Clothestime 22 AnnTaylor -6.2 Calif, women's apparel discounter Women's specialty retailer The Gap 20 CaldorCorp. -3 National clothing chain East Coast discounter Pic-N-Save 19.3 Filene's Basement -3 Discounter in West and South Discount clothing retailer Value City 15.3 Neiman Marcus -2.2 Columbus, Ohio-based discounter National specialty retailers Many retailers reported sales Dow Jones 30 Industrials Daily highs, with closes at arrow tip Area-Interest stocks In Industrial average (NYSE change from previous day) AT&T 14 GE 1 78 P&G 1 58 Cincinnati Stock Exchange volume Thursday 1,365,500 were only marginally higher or fell from a year earlier, when the Persian Gulf crisis took a heavy toll on their business. Store owners said consumers remain extremely cautious, continuing to search for bargains and refraining from major purchases. UC class hones art of business writing impress the reader with the quali Students "' - " , " t ' -'VN 1 1 i 1 . , are taught to be succinct BY MARGARET JOSTEN The Cincinnati Enquirer When NBC's Bryant Gumbel shot off his uncomplimentary memo to the boss about Today show co-worker Willard Scott, he had no idea its contents would be splashed all over the United States. But the incident, in which he criticized the morning news magazine's weather reporter of not being serious enough in his approach to his subject, is a good lesson for anybody in business who sends out letters or memos containing intemperate language: You never know who's going to read them. ty of the ideas expressed. Get to the point quickly and summarize the important points early in the piece of writing. Resist the temptation to try and impress the reader with the writing. "Many people in business think the more convoluted, the more florid the writing, the more the reader will be impressed with their linguistic savvy," Bryan says. "Usually, it just puts the reader off." To make a point, Bryan sometimes holds up copies of the New York Times and USA Today before the class. "You're dashing for the bus or the plane, and you haven't much time," he says. "Which newspaper do you pick up?" Almost all class members choose USA Today for its "quick read" properties. "It's the same in the workplace," Bryan tells them. People are in a hurry. They need to be given information in an inviting fashion that gets to the point quickly. A former student, Theresa Waddle, now publicity coordinator for the magazine division of F&W Publications, Cincinnati, says Bryan's instruction has been extremely helpful to her because it went beyond the usual instruction in grammatical rules and writing the "cover letter" for a resume. Instead, her class set up a mythical business. Members learned, as an example, how to write letters to an irate supplier or to a supplier being replaced by another supplier, Waddle recalls. "He gave realistic instruction." In fact, the effective writer for business pays a great deal of attention to his or her audience, says John Bryan, coordinator of professional writing (technical and business writing) at the University of Cincinnati. Blue chips lead Wall Street rally The stock market recouped some of its early-October losses with a late rally Thursday led by blue chips. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which had taken a net drop of 72.01 points from Oct. 1 through Wednesday's close, climbed 30.19 points to 2,976.52. Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 10 to 9 on the New York Stock Exchange. Big Board volume came to an estimated 164.14 million shares as of 4 p.m. EDT, against 186.60 million at the same point in the previous session. Waterfront has suitor With the Ohio River as a boundary, Cincinnati City Council member Tyrone Yates has begun a tug-of-war with Covington, Ky., for The Waterfront restaurantnight spot. In a motion introduced Thursday, Yates wants Cincinnati's economic development director to "immediately negotiate the purchase of The Waterfront" and move it from Kentucky to the Cincinnati side of the river. The motion will likely be sent to committee for discussion next week. Restaurant owner Jeff Ruby said he was considering moving out of Covington because the city would not pay for dredging the floating barge. Ruby said he and his partners are not trying to sell the restaurant, which he described as his "second child." But he will entertain offers from Cincinnati. "It's nice to feel wanted," he said. Auto dealers go to court The Tri-State Chevrolet Dealers Advertising Association, representing 33 area Chevy and Geo car dealers, sued Cincinnati Bell Inc. and Reuben H. Donnelley Thursday, alleging unfair business practices. In a suit filed in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, the dealers said Bell and Donnelley, publisher of Bell's yellow pages, discriminated against them by refusing in November to publish their ad in the auto dealers' section. The dealers' ad instead appeared on the inside back cover of the yellow pages. The dealers sued almost a year after the incident in an effort to get their ad back into the auto section this year, Cincinnati attorney Norman I. Barron said. Bell and Donnelley officials could not be reached for comment. USAir might cut further A USAir Group Inc. executive said the airline might eliminate one or more of its U.S. hubs as part of a restructuring. "We're not through restructuring, so I wouldn't be surprised to see more announcements," Juliette C. Heintze, vice president of investor relations, told an analyst meeting in Richmond, Va., Thursday. "We're looking very carefully at our hubs." Louisville escalates efforts Louisville officials might be trying to secure options on land south of Standiford Field as the possible site for the $1 billion maintenance base planned by United Airlines. Louisville is one of 11 cities still competing for the base that United has In 'response to the local busi ness community's realization that The Cincinnati EnquirerCathy A. Lyons Maria Swearingen, a junior at the University of Cincinnati majoring in communication disorders, discusses a business letter with John Bryan, assistant professor and coordinator of the business writing program at UC. business writing is not necessarily an innate skill, UC's English Department added writing-for-business classes to its course offerings in 1986. The course is a requirement for students in the College of Business Administration. "We try to form the habit of constructing profiles of the reader or readers before we start," Bryan says of his business writing ness writing focus more on the person or people who will be reading the document than the one doing the writing: Keep in mind the specific response you seek. Do you want more business for your company? Are you trying to soothe ruffled feathers? Is this letter to tell somebody "no" in a businesslike way? Make the writing so inviting and clear and unself-conscious that the reader is aware only of the information being given and not of the writing itself. Try to course. The profile Bryan suggests is almost demographic. What are the readers' ages? Their educational levels? Their knowledge of the subject? Will they resist the message in the letter or memo? Bryan's other rules for busi Lindner is bailing out of Circle K for plus the preferred series. common stock or series A preferred shares, although he retains a 6.9 stake in Circle K through his holdings of convertible series B preferred shares and options to buy common shares. "Basically, he thinks the common stock is worth zero," Benteman said. That might seem surprising to some, since Circle K's common stock is worth about $1 a share. That means Lindner traded $7.5 million worth of common stock, "I think Carl is telling everyone that he doesn't think there is any value in the stock," said Bruce Benteman, an analyst with Wealth Monitors in St. Louis. Benteman was referring to a recent disclosure that Lindner and his American Financial Corp. sold 7.5 million shares of Circle K common stock and 475,000 shares of series A preferred shares in exchange for a three-year, $750,000 promissory note. That leaves Lindner with no BY MARK BRAYKOVICH The Cincinnati Enquirer Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner has loosened his grip on Circle K Corp., the nation's second largest convenience store chain that is in Chapter 11. In fact, Lindner might be signaling that he has lost faith in Circle K's ability to reorganize and recoup his investment which was once worth more than $200 million according to one analyst. $750,000. The ordeal has put a stain on Lindner's once-golden reputation for smart investing. American Financial poured $146 million into Circle K stock between 1973 and 1986. But when the chain's business soured, so, too, did Lindner's investment. At the end of 1988, his stake was worth more than $200 million; a year later, it had fallen to $68 million. Carl Lindner . . . losing interest in Circle K? View from the top said will require zuu to duu acres, uiiuu-natiNorthern Kentucky Airport in Boone thf citps heine consid- Merrill Lynch says transactions legal wuuitbj io si v vv wvw a ered. The base, which would do heavy ........ IJ L maintenance on united s jets, wouia Drmg as rninu oe 7 nnn inhe tn Louisville. State kv. and local officials have offered the airline Lirp- I kfU an incentive package valued at !MUU million. N.Ky. bank names president leffrev Nnrtnn. who was executive Vice president of commercial lending for Liberty National Bank of Northern Kentucky, has been named president of the Erlanger bank. Nnrtnn also will be elected to serve as a director. William Scheben Jr., who THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK Merrill Lynch & Co. moved Thursday to quell fallout from a federal investigation into junk-bond trades with a failed Florida insurer, telling employees the transactions were legal and fully disclosed. The firm said in a memo to employees that Coopers & Ly-brand, accountant for Guarantee Security Life Insurance Co., was aware of the trades and told the insurer how to represent them for tax purposes and on financial statements. Merrill was stung by the disclosures Wednesday alleging securities "parking" that might have helped Guarantee Security, of Jacksonville, Fla., conceal the extent of its financial problems for years. In a memo, Merrill Chairman William Schreyer and President Daniel Tully conceded that news of the Securities and Exchange Commission probe hurt amid recent reports of Wall Street wrongdoing. "In the face of daily news stories alleging improprieties in our industry, our strong denials of any illegal or unethical activity did not have the immediate effect that they would have in normal regulatory times," the memo said. Merrill stock, which fell $2.50 Wednesday, recovered 37Vz to close Thursday at $45.37'2 in heavy trading on the NYSE. was president, will remain chairman ana chief executive officer. Eskimo Pie unit for sale Reynolds Metals Co. is negotiating to sell its Eskimo Pie Corp. subsidiary to food giant Nestle USA, officials said Thursday. Reynolds owns 84 of Eskimo Pie, which has been making chocolate-covered ice cream bars since 1920. Reynolds """""' The Cincinnati EnquirerJohn Curley Tim Wells, with Zaring National Corp., observes along with Central Trust employees Sandy Drake, Tanner Cotton and Cecilia Ziegler from the top of Adams Landing during a topping off party Thursday. The 77-unit condominium complex should be ready by summer, 1992. acquired Eskimo Pie in 1924. Compiled by Dick Benson from staff and news service reports

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