Business at Snohomish County’s hotels and motels was strong enough in December to again outstrip King County. Fifty-eight percent of the county’s rooms were occupied during the month, according to Smith Travel Research Inc. statistics made available Wednesday. For all of 2007, occupancy at the county’s inns rose to an average of 72 percent, topping all other reporting counties in Washington. King County averaged 71.5 percent occupancy for the year.
Starbucks’ profit rises only slightly
Starbucks Corp. said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose by less than 2 percent, and it detailed plans to open fewer U.S. stores and more overseas to revitalize the chain. It plans to close 100 poorly performing U.S. stores. For the 13 weeks ended Dec. 30, Starbucks posted net earnings of $208 million, or 28 cents per share, up from $205 million in the year-ago period. Starbucks shares fell 75 cents to close at $19.22 on Wednesday.
Chinese airline to buy 30 Boeing jets
China Eastern Airlines, China’s third-largest carrier, has agreed to buy 30 single-aisle 737s from the Boeing Co., the airline said Wednesday. The Shanghai-based carrier said the order was for about $1.94 billion, based on catalog prices as of July 2005. Boeing has not reported the order. China Eastern said it is scheduled to receive the jets between 2011 and 2015.
Profit doubles for Amazon.com
Amazon.com Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, helped by fast-growing international sales, the company reported. The Web retailer also issued better-than-expected sales guidance and appeared unconcerned about a possible recession. Amazon’s earnings in the crucial holiday quarter climbed to $207 million, or 48 cents per share, from $98 million, or 23 cents per share, in the same period last year.
Costco loses bid to change wine rules
Costco Wholesale Corp.’s effort to beat Washington’s post-Prohibition liquor laws in hopes of driving down prices for beer and wine came up short, with a three-judge federal appeals court panel saying most of the rules are valid. The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned decisions by a U.S. District Court.
Dell to close sales kiosks in malls
Dell Inc., which has been pushing its computers into more retail stores, said it will close its 140 shopping mall kiosks in the United States. Dell now sells computers and other devices in more than 10,000 stores around the world, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy. The kiosks, where customers could place orders for delivery, may be losing some of their novelty.
Isuzu to stop selling vehicles in U.S.
Isuzu Motors Ltd. has decided to stop distributing new passenger vehicles in North America as of 2009. The Japanese company blamed the move on General Motors Corp.’s decision to cease production for Isuzu of its sport utility vehicle and pickup trucks. Isuzu sold only 7,098 vehicles in the U.S. in 2007.
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