The Press Democrat from Santa Rosa, California on December 15, 1983 · 63
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The Press Democrat from Santa Rosa, California · 63

Santa Rosa, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 15, 1983
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1 Thursday, December 15. 1983 PRESS 1ID Christmas '83 the gaudiest gifts in years Outrageously priced gifts are always part of the Christmas scene . but the plethora of them this year tells us the fella who's closest to our economic heartbeat, the nation's retailer, is betting that our financial complexion is a lot rosier than we think. ' And the booming Yule business bears this out. ' Earlier, many crystal-ball gazers were talking about a 5-7 percent holiday sales gain. The numbers are now being revised upward and some economists say we'll now spend a record $128 billion on our holiday presents, up over 13 percent from the '82 peak of $1 13.2 billion. . Clearly the "if you've got it, flaunt it" theme is much more prevalent in Christmas gift-giving '83. "It'll be the most ostentatious Christmas yet," says my old friend Ray DeVoe, the 54-year-old silver-haired investment strategist of the brokerage firm of Legg Mason Wood Walker. DeVoe's referring to the abundance of super-expensive holiday gifts geared to the "haves." And according to his calculations, there are about 5 to 10 percent more of them this year than a year ago. That's not some off-the-cuff unsubstantiated comment; it's a subject the man can talk about with knowledge. For the past several years, DeVoe, in a pitch to get a better .' ' understanding of how the retailing fraternity sizes up the financial mood of the consumer, has scoured the holiday catalogs for the affluent as . well as personally visited a number of stores that cater to the wealthy. And he tells me the gaudy side of Christmas economics is much more conspicuous this year. How well many of these lavishly-priced items may do is open to question but DeVoe figures sales are likely to climb this year, given a peppier economy, rising real disposable income and the big stock market gain (adding over $900 billion of consumer wealth). Ego also has a lot to do with super-expensive gift purchases, DeVoe believes. For growing numbers of people, he says, it's as important to show that they made it as it is to know they made it. And giving an outrageously expensive present is saying "I've arrived." What's the most outrageous present this year? , : , ; DeVoe's choice is a month's cruise for the sea lover and up to 69 of his closest chums. The ship is the legendary Sea Cloud, the largest Dan Dorfman passenger-carrying tall ship in the world. You have a crew of 60, your , choice of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, and you sail under your very own flag. . The price: A mere $750,000. , . ' If that's a bit steep, but you're still intent on that "something different, something better" holiday gift, DeVoe points to such possibilities as: A Countess Mara velvet tie with gold pin studded with diamonds just $5,000. - An "Alice in Wonderland" Steuben paperweight $6,000. .' A one-of-a-kind ostrich attache case $4,500. A bottle of 25-year-old Glenfiddlch scotch, the world's most expensive $2,100. ; . A gold toothpick $125. v An Aston-Martin Lagonda auto $ 1 50,000. , Let's not forget that "something special" for the small fry. If your daughter yearns for one of those Cabbage Patch dolls, you can have one made to your very own specifications for just $ 1 ,000. If you're game to get junior one of those train sets but you don't want one that'll clutter up the house there's a miniature version, replete with landscaping and trains, that measures just 1 2 feet by 2'2 ' feet. The price: $1,750 or $500 a square foot. . Against this background of what some might characterize as Christmas-giving obscenity is a huge population of have-nots 34.4 million Americans (or about 15 percent of the population) who fall into the poverty ranks. These folks are measured by a family of four that earns less than $9,862 a year. : Still, as DeVoe sees it, the "haves" clearly dominate. And with the first Christmas coming up in four years without economic troubles and the jobless ranks down this year by a hefty 2.7 million, DeVoe expects a spectacular year-end blowof f in gift purchases "obscenity notwithstanding." A CURIOUS CODE OF ETHICS? An abuse of inside information? You be the judge. ' Just two days before he gave a glowing interview to the Wall Street Journal on his company's prospects, Richard Hart, president of Seligman & Latz, the nation's largest beauty salon operator and retailer of cosmetics and jewelry in department stores, purchased 2,000 shares of S&L'sstockatl78. ' The shares the only ones he owned ran up to a new '83 high of 18 in reaction to that bullish interview (which included a forecast of a fiscal fourth quarter profit of $300,000, vs. a year-earlier $1.8 million net loss). ... , On top of that, a little over three weeks later, a deal was announced for S&L's acquisition at $23 a share by City Stores, which owned a little over 1 2 percent of S&L's stock. And in reaction, the S&L shares rose to another new high of 21 2. Accordingly, Hart is sporting a paper-profit of close to $9,000. ; That may not seem like a big deal, but clearly the man's ethics are open to question. Hart, who earns about $275,000 a year, refused to take phone cals to discuss the ethics of his act. But the firm's counsel, Amy Tenney, was quick to give her boss a clean bill of health saying it was known earnings were improving and that there was a possibility City Stores might make a bid to acquire the company. Maybe so, but the fact the S&L shares ran up both times to new highs on the basis of those revelations suggests strongly that Hart possessed material inside information. Further, would the sellers of the S&L shares which Hart bought have unloaded their stock had they known of the impending bullish WSJ story and the prospects of an imminent acquisition? ' We all know the answer to that one. Hewlett-Packard to lease Mountain View shopping mall MOUNTAIN VIEW Hewlett-Packard Co. has signed an agreement to lease, with an option to buy, the 27-acre Mayfield Mall shopping complex in Mountain View from developer Hare, Brewer & Kelley Inc. Terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. The mall complex, located at the intersection of Central Expressway and San Antonio Road, has experienced declining patronage in recent years and had been scheduled to cease most commercial operations Jan. 1. ; The J.C Penney store and other shops now operating in the mall are expected to remain open for business as usual until then, Hewlett-Packard said. - . , . , In addition several commercial establishments located on the site but outside the main complex including the Greyhound bus terminal, the Wells Fargo Bank branch and the Grecian - Health Spa facility - will continue to , operate on the premises. . . HP said it plans a major upgrade of the 520,000-square-foot complex for use as an office facility and to accommodate sales, service and product--. demonstration activities. Conversion is expected to begin early next year following approval of final plans by city officials. ' In anticipation of the mall's closing, . the Mountain View City Council voted ' 6 to 0 last summer to rezone the mall property from "regional commercial" to "office, R&D and light industrial." Following extensive hearings before the planning commission and the city, council, the city also adopted a precise development plan, paving the way for the mall's conversion. ; HP said it may consider using part of the complex for R&D or assembly and testing at some, future time, but will focus initially on office usage. . Any R&D or light manufacturing uses will be conditional ' upon city , approval of a use-compatibility report, a rigorous independent review required under the city's precise plan for the mall. . ,As part of the planned upgrade, significant improvements to the building facade and landscaping will be made, HP said, in order to enhance the facility's appearance and make it more compatible with the surrounding community. Traffic impacts should be minimal because the sales force spends much of its time out of the office on customer visits, the company said. In addition HP's flexible work hours and encouragement of alternative transportation will minimize peak-hour traffic. "We've outgrown our current leased sales office in Palo Alto and have been looking for some time for an expansion site," said James G. Law, HP corporate manager for land and facilities development. - "The decision of the current owner to close the mall gives us an excellent opportunity to expand into a larger facility while also putting the shopping complex to good, productive use," he said. -, "We look forward to working constructively with city officials and interested citizens in turning Mayfield Mall into a productive neighborhood asset once again." , Mayfield Mall opened for business in 1967 and at its peak contained 50 commercial establishments of various types. In recent years however, several tenants have moved out and attempts to attract new tenants and increase customer traffic have been unsuccessful in reversing the mall's decline, officers said. Based in Palo Alto, Hewlett-Packard is a major international manufacturer of computer products, electronic instruments, medical electronic products and instruments for chemical analysis. Cpoperyision declares dividend PALO ALTO CooperVision Inc. has announced that its board of directors had declared an initial quarterly dividend of 7 cents per-share. The dividend is payable Jan. 13 to shareholders of record, on Dec. 28. CooperVision develops, manufactures and sells a broad range of drugs, The BEST BUYS devices and diagnostics used in ophthalmology and optometry including ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, contact lenses, lenscare solutions and accessories, intraocular lenses, laser and ' ultrasonic surgical devices and micro- processor-based diagnostic equip-, memVV i In The REDWOOD EMPIRE Are In The WANT ADS ' TODAY Imperial Savings' Tbmorrow Mortgage 10. -tM'i. APR Qualify today. Borrowagain tomorrow. 1-800-CHEK-NOW (1-800-243-5669) 'Rates subject to change without notice Annual Percentage Rates based on typical loans, mbcct to increase after settlement One Year Adjustable, Monthly ( Plan A).'" ' ; .if - Rate changes after 6 months, monthly thereafter H Imperial Savings A Federal Savings maLoan AssocwKi H'Zxw Tomomnt' Begins Today. Is Coming to the Bay Area The world's fastest growing home furnishings retailer, specializing in furniture, appliances, stereo, TV, and carpet, is seeking EXPERIENCED SALES PEOPLE Excellent career and growth opportunity. Outstanding income potential (commission & guarantee) and benefit package. Major showroom opening February 1984 in the following areas. . Santa Rosa San Rafael El Cerrito Pleasant Hill Dublin South San Francisco San Mateo Fremont Redwood City Mountain View Hayward San Jose (3 Locations) Training, now being , scheduled. For' appointment phone 415-489-2200 between 8 a.m;'- 8 p.m. Ask for Mr. Henslee Calls accepted through Tuesday, December 20 Ask your Community Banker about ... High tax-free income from AAA Rated, MBIA Insured Northern California Power Agency Revenue Bonds 8.25 48.53 Annual Yield Taxable Equivalent 50 Tax Rate Call Today! Toll free 1.800.421-0253 Ask for Muni Bond Specialist, Jim Cunningham WESWMERIG1 J BANK it MAIL TO: INVESTMENT DEPARTMENT r.O. BOX 600 SAN RAFAEL. CA 94915 ATTN.: MR. JIM CUNNINGHAM NAN! I:-ADUKF.SS CITY: PLEASE HAVE JIM CALL ME AT: ( STATE . t')A1 TT.ll I'HONJl CALL OR WRITE FOR YOUR TREE 1983 TAX TRADER'S KIT BEFORE YOU SETTLE YOUR YlAR LXl) P05770.Y5.'. UTSTA A.VtKICAPANKNA V Ml Mbl K f D IC rOJj TWO NEW HIGH INTEREST ACCOUNTS WITH LOW $1000 MINIMUMS Assumes principal and interest, compounded continuously, remain on deposit for one year. Substantial interest penalty lor early withdrawal. 1 7r UtmLJl 18-MO LOCK-UP annual ' yield' 1-YR LOCK-UP annual rate, (set daily yield f 1963 Wo'ra Savings and Loan Association WORLD IS O-P-E-N SATURDAYS 9T0 3I SANTA ROSA 546-8370 . ' 1201 Guemeville Rd. PET ALU MA .763-2222 ' 301 Washington St. For til World relet call ' tolMr 24 hours: 1-800-HOT-RATE (1-800-468-7283) MEMBER FSLIC INSURED TO S XX) OOP m bm mm tmm m WORLD SAVDWGS $8 BILLION IN ASSETS AMERICA'S 6TH LARGEST SAVINGS AND LOAN L.

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