A group of liquidators is paying $48 million for the assets of bankrupt Levitz Furniture Inc., marking the end of the furniture seller founded nearly a century ago. Levitz stores are scheduled to be closed, including one in Lynnwood. A Levitz spokesman declined to comment. According to court papers, six companies teamed for the right to conduct going-out-of-business sales at some 70 Levitz stores, plus rights to the retailer’s inventory.
Dell earnings rise 27 percent
Dell Inc. said earnings grew 27 percent in the third quarter, buoyed by growth in overseas markets like Brazil and by prices falling for memory chips and other components. The results fell just shy of analyst expectations. Dell, which posted results after markets closed Thursday, earned $766 million, or 34 cents per share, in the three months ended Nov. 2. That was up from $601 million, or 27 cents per share, in revised figures from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting the Round Rock, Texas, company to post profits of 35 cents per share on revenue of $15.34 billion.
Economic growth strong in summer
The economy barreled ahead in the summer, growing at a 4.9 percent pace. The performance was the strongest in four years but isn’t expected to last through the current quarter amid the housing slump and credit crunch. Sales of new homes edged up in October but sales activity still hovered near an 11-year low. The Commerce Department’s new reading of the gross domestic product from July through September, released Thursday, was even better than the government’s initial estimate of a brisk 3.9 percent growth rate for the period. Stronger U.S. exports to overseas buyers and more inventory investment by businesses were the main reasons for the improvement.
IHOP completes Applebee’s buy
Pancake house operator IHOP Corp. said Thursday it had completed its $1.9 billion purchase of casual dining chain Applebee’s International Inc. Under terms of the deal, shareholders of Overland Park, Kan.-based Applebee’s will be paid $25.50 per share, a 4.6 percent premium over its closing price on the day before the offer was announced in July and 2 cents above where the shares were trading Thursday. Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP is also assuming $155 million in Applebee’s debt as part of the deal. The combined company has $6.8 billion in annual sales and more than 3,250 restaurants. To pay for the acquisition, IHOP officials said they will franchise 475 of Applebee’s 510 company stores.
Fed chairman hints at interest rate cut
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday hinted that another interest rate cut may be needed to bolster the economy. The worsening credit crunch, a housing slump and rising energy prices probably will create consumer problems. Bernanke said he expects the country can withstand the problems without falling into a recession. But he indicated that consumers could turn more cautious as they try to cope with all the stresses.
From Herald staff and news services