Friday, November 19, 1999


Shoe unit trips up Elder-Beerman Stores

        Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. posted a third-quarter loss on higher sales after factoring in costs associated with its discontinued shoe division.

        The Dayton, Ohio-based retailer reported a loss of $738,000 in the quarter ended Oct. 30, compared with net income of $1.8 million in the same period last year. That's a loss of 5 cents per diluted share vs. net income of 11 cents a diluted share last year.

        Costs from halting the Bee-Gee shoe operation — in the process of being acquired — totaled more than $1.4 million. Net income from continuing operations, or pre-expense income, reached $704,000 in the quarter.

        Sales rose to $159.4 million from $154.6 million last year.

        The company said it has repurchased more than 1.1 million shares of common stock for $7.3 million, pursuant to a repurchase program of up to $24 million announced in August.

        Elder-Beerman has been seeking ways to become more profitable in the face of shareholder pressure to make management or board changes.

Buyout means Regal will get new name
        ×The owner of the Regal Cincinnati Hotel is being acquired by a British hotelier, and will be renamed the Millennium.

        Millenium & Copthorne Hotels plc of London said Thursday it is paying $640 million for 28 U.S. hotels owned by Regal Hotels International Ltd. That includes 12 upscale hotels including the Cincinnati Regal, the Biltmore in Los Angeles and the Bostonian in Boston, as well as 16 smaller properties in places like Aurora, Ohio, and Cheektowaga, N.Y.

        With 872 rooms in two towers, the Regal Cincinnati is the largest hotel in Ohio, its owners say. It's located next to the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center.

        A spokeswoman said no changes are contemplated at the Regal Cincinnati, other than renaming it. Formerly the Clarion, the hotel went through a $5 million renovation in 1995.

Catalog too explicit for sale to minors
        Michigan's attorney general has ordered suburban Columbus-based Abercrombie & Fitch to stop selling its clothing catalog to minors because it is sexually explicit.

        Attorney General Jennifer Granholm sent a letter to the clothing retailer Wednesday, saying its “Naughty or Nice” Christmas catalog contains descriptions of sexual material that cannot be distributed to minors under Michigan law.

        “It's fine to push the envelope for adults or for college students over 18, but not when a large part of your market are 10- to 18-year-olds,” she said. “This is unacceptable.”

        The cover of the catalog features a shirtless young man with his jeans unbuttoned. The catalog includes photos of sometimes naked models.

Ohio's major egg producer on notice
        Ohio has threatened to take whatever steps necessary to force the state's largest egg producer to scale back its operation and respond to years of complaints about bug infestations, environmental problems and improper disposal of dead chickens.

        “We put a line in the sand,” Attorney General Betty Montgomery said Thursday, referring to a letter sent to the lawyer of Buckeye Egg Farm last week.

        Calling Buckeye Egg facilities in Ohio a “threat to the public health and welfare,” the letter said the company must reduce fly infestations, limit expansion plans and flock size and pay $750,000 in civil penalties by Nov. 30.


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