RadioShack Corp. To Close 1,100 Stores, Company Reports

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Cara...

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RadioShack Corp. said it plans to close up to 1,100 stores in the U.S. and reported a wider quarterly loss after a disappointing holiday season.

Its stock tumbled 24 percent in premarket trading today and was down 11 percent at 2.42 after opening on the New York Stock Exchange.

CEO Joseph Magnacca said in statement that the store closings would leave RadioShack with more than 4,000 U.S. stores, including more than 900 dealer franchise locations. The company didn’t immediately identify which stores will be closed or how many jobs would be affected.

There are several stores in the Lehigh Valley, including stores within a mile of each other in Palmer Township.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/03/radioshack_to_close_1100_store.html

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JetBlue Profits On Boston-Philadelphia Route

English: MARIE BALLARD IS THE SOLE OWNER OF NA...

English: MARIE BALLARD IS THE SOLE OWNER OF NASDAQ OMX Group CA CODES[ELEC 8020-8028MHT.125578970752 0208 A7600732 |NASDAQ OMX Group]] Category:Airline logos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s tough to make money at another airline’s international-flight hub, but JetBlue Airways is doing just that on the popular Philadelphia-Boston route.

JetBlue, Boston’s largest airline with 125 daily flights, has succeeded where three other carriers did not: making a profit and winning over travelers with cheaper fares and in-flight amenities on a 300-mile trip on which US Airways long had a lock.

US Airways, with a hub in Philadelphia, has 19 nonstop flights on peak weekdays from Philadelphia to Boston.

JetBlue’s arrival in May with five daily Boston nonstops immediately lowered airfares, once as high as $800 round-trip on US Airways, to $55 to $154 one-way on Jet Blue, depending on the day and time of travel.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140205_JetBlue_profits_on_Boston-Phila__route.html#3zudCRGpPAqpmMmJ.99

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Pittsburgh International Struggling Despite The Region’s Robust Economy

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald describes Pittsburgh International Airport as an economic engine for Western Pennsylvania.

Yet while Fitzgerald points to improved employment, production and tourism as signs of the region’s economic vitality, growth at Pittsburgh International is stalled.

“I can’t explain it,” Fitzgerald said of the incongruity between the region’s surging economy and an airport that is scuffling in its core business of flying.

The airport was on pace through November to post its lowest annual passenger total since opening in 1992, according to the latest data. It recently learned that 600 airline jobs will vanish when the new American Airlines, created through a merger with US Airways, closes a flight operations center in Moon by next year. An unused section of one concourse in the $1 billion airport remains walled-off. The airport doesn’t have a CEO.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5501301-74/airport-pittsburgh-fitzgerald#ixzz2sHkI4LvV
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Long-Awaited Change Coming To Italian Market

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting South Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 30 degrees and an icy rain is falling, but as Michele Gambino stands in the center of the Italian Market, she’s feeling surprisingly warm.

Not from the flames snapping in the fire barrels.

But because in 10 days, a change four years in the making comes to the venerable market, one that Gambino and others believe will enrich shoppers and enliven the assembly of grocery stores, butcher shops, and restaurants that line Ninth Street in South Philadelphia.

On Jan. 1, the business-district association takes control of the market’s iconic, outdoor rows of wooden stands.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131223_Long-awaited_change_coming_to_Italian_Market.html#xkxhQzitABLg2xCv.99

Pennsylvania Sales Tax Solution Sought

Traditional merchants are suffering a 6 percent disadvantage over their Internet-only competitors this holiday season.

Though the Supreme Court recently affirmed the right of states to tax online purchases made by state residents, it really didn’t help small-business owners.

Online appliance sellers routinely boast they sell appliances free of sales tax and often offer free delivery on big-ticket items despite a requirement that Internet merchants collect the 6 percent sales tax on anything they sell for use in Pennsylvania, said Brian Sutton, part owner of Maidencreek TV & Appliance in Maidencreek Township.

“They do it all the time,” Sutton said. “We’ve been dealing with this for years.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131216/NEWS/312169981#.Uq8i_vRDsxI

McDonald’s Squeezing Out Heinz Ketchup

English: A bottle of Heinz ketchup

English: A bottle of Heinz ketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McDonald’s is moving to clear Heinz ketchup out of its system.

The restaurateur this week confirmed that it has started the process of moving to other vendors, following the appointment of former Burger King Worldwide CEO Bernardo Hees to run Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. Mr. Hees also serves as vice chairman of the board of Miami-based Burger King.

“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” according to a statement from Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s.

The decision appears to put an end to a years-long push by Heinz officials to regain ground with the restaurant giant that operates more than 34,000 locations around the globe, although most American customers buying Big Macs aren’t getting Heinz ketchup with their fries anyway.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/10/25/McDonald-s-squeezing-out-Heinz-ketchup-Golden-Arches-dropping-Heinz/stories/201310250056

Teva To Cut 5,000 Jobs As Drug Company Winds Down Bucks Operations

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will cut about 5,000 jobs, 10 percent of its workforce, accelerating a cost-cutting plan as it prepares for lower-priced competition for its best-selling drug.

Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, said it expects to save about $2 billion a year by the end of 2017.

In May, the company announced plans to close its West Rockhill Township manufacturing plant in 2017, eliminating more than 450 jobs there and dealing a significant blow to northern Bucks County‘s employment base.

Teva is the Pennridge-area’s second-largest employer after Grand View Hospital.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-teva-fires-5000-workers-20131010,0,7070943.story#ixzz2hKpgdvPX
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Pennsylvania Approves Highmark-West Penn Allegheny Health System Merger

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pitts...

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pittsburgh, , . Address 120 Fifth Ave., Downtown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today gave conditional approval for insurer Highmark Inc. to affiliate with the financially ailing West Penn Allegheny Health System, laying the foundation for Highmark’s plans to establish an integrated health care delivery system to compete with UPMC.

Insurance commissioner Michael Consedine, in a release announcing the decision, said, “Our goal from the outset was to have a comprehensive, transparent review in order to make a fully informed and well-founded determination.  We have met that goal.”

In statement, Gov. Tom Corbett said “the goals for the commonwealth are to improve health care access, quality and affordability.  Today’s decision is an important step toward making these goals a reality in Western Pennsylvania.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/state-approves-highmark-west-penn-allegheny-health-system-merger-685517/#ixzz2RreWfl90

Service Cuts May Follow Merger Of Airlines

The airline industry took a decisive step toward greater concentration on Thursday with the announcement that American Airlines and US Airways had agreed to merge, forming the nation’s biggest airline.  The merged airline, to be called American, leaves just three major carriers — Delta Air Lines and United Airlines too — able to offer extensive domestic and international service, a sharp contraction over the last decade.

But while airline executives argue that mergers are good for passengers because they bring more service to more destinations, some economists and consumer advocates warn that all this consolidation comes at a price for travelers.

With fewer carriers, passengers have fewer options; fares and fees are now more likely to go up, particularly for flights between midsize cities.  And more cities, especially smaller ones, can expect to see further reductions in service.

“It’s much easier to have tacit collusion with just three airlines,” said George Hoffer, a transportation economist at the University of Richmond.  “It’s not illegal.  But it’s like having a few big people in a small boat. Anyone’s decisions tie you all together.”

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/business/airline-consolidation-may-be-costly-to-travelers.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp

Governor Christie Quietly Takes On New Jersey Lottery

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of Ne...

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TRENTON – Gov. Christie hasn’t held a news conference about it, and his treasurer has refused to testify on it.  But the Republican governor is close to privatizing the bulk of a $2.8 billion New Jersey institution.

Following a national trend already under way in Pennsylvania, Christie is negotiating a 15-year contract with a company to operate the state lottery in an effort to increase sales, thereby building more revenue for schools and state institutions.

Like Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Corbett, Christie bypassed the Legislature, much to its chagrin, in bidding out the system.  And like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got just one bid in response to its request for proposals.

Unlike in Pennsylvania, where the pending contract was ultimately posted online and must be submitted for approval to the Democratic attorney general, New Jersey’s lottery bid is not public.  Christie could just sign a contract in the next two months.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/nj/20130128_Christie_quietly_takes_on_lottery.html

Reading Health System Challenged On Merger

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State and federal authorities want to block Reading Health System’s acquisition of a competitor, a move they say would harm local consumers by reducing competition.

State Attorney General Linda Kelly and the Federal Trade Commission announced Friday that they will ask a federal judge on Monday for an injunction to stop the deal for Surgical Institute of Reading LP, Spring Township.

“The proposed acquisition would result in substantially higher prices for many kinds of medical procedures,” Kelly said in a statement.  “It would be bad not just for patients but also for employers in the Reading area.”

The FTC also has issued an administrative complaint, initiating a proceeding that will determine the legality of the deal.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428738

Kraft Foods Announces 1,600 Job Cuts

Kraft Foods plans to cut 1,600 positions from its North American division this year as it prepares to split into two companies, but no Lehigh Valley jobs will be lost, the packaged foods giant announced Tuesday.

Kraft said the cuts will not hit production facilities. The company has a 1-million-square-foot plant in Upper Macungie where it makes Grey Poupon mustard, A-1 Steak Sauce, T-Discs for the Tassimo hot beverage maker, natural cheese products.

The Northfield, Illinois company also has a distribution center in Bethlehem Township.

The company said no Lehigh Valley jobs are targeted in this round of cost-cutting. However, all facilities will be reviewed once the split is complete, it said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-kraft-cuts-20120117,0,1257961.story

More Store Closings – Pathmark And Superfresh To Close Stores

Ten Delaware Valley underperforming supermarkets are closing shortly due to competition from Super Walmart stores.

The two stores closing closest to Pottstown are the Lionville Superfresh in Chester County and the Saucon Valley Pathmark.  Saucon Valley is an area south of Allentown and Bethlehem.  Other stores are mostly in New Jersey with one in Delaware and one in Yardley PA.

Superfresh and Pathmark are union operations and offer better wages and benefits than Walmart.  The store closings will put 600 people out of work.

Another Iconic Company Leaves Philly

Map of Philadelphia County highlighting Center...

Image via Wikipedia

The economy is the culprit behind Robbins Diamonds leaving Pennsylvania.  We all remember those silly commercials with Jerry Robbins having a diamond in his beard, I’m sure.

Robbins Diamonds had three locations.  They closed their 8th and Walnut Street store in Center City, Philadelphia along with their store in Allentown.  Robbins blames the horrible economy.  Interestingly, they are keeping their large Newark, Delaware store open.  It has tons of free parking, access to Interstate 95 and Delaware has no sales tax.  (aha!)

Robbins stated he is glad to still be in business considering big names like Jack Kellmer, Bailey, Banks & Biddle and Caldwell’s have closed.  There are still 37 stores left on Jewelers Row in Philadelphia.

Another one bites the dust!

Limerick Acme To Close In February

Acme closed their Collegeville Shopping Center store and moved it to 31 W. Ridge Pike, next to the new Court At Upper Providence Shopping Center, a few years ago.  Now it would seem the “new store” is under performing due to competition from Giant, Target and Wegman’s and will close by the end of February.

With the departure of Acme from Ridge Pike, the closest Acme stores within a 20 mile radius of zip code 19468 are Phoenixville, Norristown, Lansdale and King of Prussia.

The Wayne Acme is also on the chopping block along with three stores in New Jersey and one in Maryland.

Another big empty building!  Ironically, the old store in Collegeville was doing much better!  Just proves the grass is not always greener!

One On One With Scott MacIntyre – Season 8 American Idol Finalist

Check out another outstanding interview done by Marcus Shellenberger of the Pottstown Herald.  Marcus interviewed Scott MacIntyre at the Sovereign Center Reading, PA last week. 

http://pottstownherald.com/one-on-one-with-scott-macintyre-american-idol-contestant/