Business briefs: Leaner Intermec makes profit despite economy

Intermec, Inc. turned a profit in the fourth quarter of 2009, coming out $6 million ahead for continuing operations at the end of the three-month period. That’s compared to $9.28 million in the same quarter last year. Fourth quarter revenues were $179.1 million, compared to $221.5 million in 2008. In a conference call with investors Thursday, company executives touted a pared-back approach to doing business that contributed to an annual revenue total of $658.2 million. The company, which develops barcode technology, reduced its break-even point drastically during 2009. Intermec will have to generate roughly between $615 million and $625 million to break even in 2010, compared with $760 million in 2008. “With our lowered break-even point, new products and expanded channel we are well positioned for the market recovery,” said Intermec President Patrick Byrne.

Whidbey papers to share office

The Whidbey News-Times announced this week that the twice-weekly newspaper is moving its office from Oak Harbor to Coupeville and will share space with its sister newspaper, the South Whidbey Record. News-Times publisher Marcia Van Dyke said the newspaper’s building is too large for its staff and too costly to maintain. The two newspapers, owned by Sound Publishing, will remain separate and no staff reductions are planned. Former News-Times publisher Wallie Funk of Anacortes, who sold the newspaper years ago to Sound Publishing owner David Black of British Columbia, said he was shocked by the move. “It’s going to change the newspaper landscape of Whidbey Island,” Funk said. “I am a lover of small town newspapering, and communities are best served by a newspaper that’s visible.” In 2009, Sound Publishing closed its Arlington Times office and moved its staff to the office of its sister newspaper, the Marysville Globe.

Shoppers buy more last month in stores

Wealthier shoppers went on a buying binge in January and even middle-income Americans spent a little more, retailers said Thursday. Some chains reported their brightest monthly results in years.

Value menu helps Burger King profits

Burger King Corp.’s second-quarter profit rose 13 percent as its value menu, including items like a $1 double cheeseburger, lured cost-conscious eaters into its restaurants. The company’s franchisees fought against the double cheeseburger promotion, saying they would lose money on the deal. But the company said it spurred traffic and singled it out as helping the quarter’s performance. It said there are more promotions to come. Overall, though, the fast-food chain said Thursday that high unemployment continued to drag down performance around the world. The weak economy has people cutting back on their spending, which has hurt restaurants.

From Herald staff and news services