×

Quick takes

MACY’s CEO CHANGE: Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren, who spearheaded a landmark acquisition that created a powerhouse national department store chain, will step down early next year, the company announced Thursday as it struggles to reinvent itself amid online competition and changing consumer habits.

Lundgren, 64, will be replaced by Macy’s President Jeff Gennette, 55, who was promoted to that role from chief merchandising officer nearly two years ago as part of what the company describes as a succession plan. Gennette began his retail career in 1983 as an executive trainee at Macy’s West in San Francisco.

Macy’s said Lundgren, who has been CEO since 2003, will continue with the company as executive chairman.

Lundgren has been credited for nearly doubling sales during his tenure and led the acquisition of May Department Stores Co. in 2005. The deal involved the then-Federated Department stores buying May for $11 billion and it involved converting May’s brands including Hecht’s and Marshall Fields into Macy’s stores. Lundgren also spearheaded the move to tailor store merchandise to local markets, and under his tenure Macy’s became one of the top six online retailers in the U.S.

But Macy’s, which had been a stellar performer since the recession, has struggled with slower growth over the past year and a half. In May, it slashed its full-year profit and revenue outlook for the year after weak results in the spring and during the holiday season.

KNIGT’S SON: Jail records show the son of R&B legend Gladys Knight has been released from a jail near Atlanta after the restaurants named after his mother were raided.

The Clayton County jail’s website says 39-year-old Shanga Hankerson was released Wednesday afternoon on charges of two counts of felony theft by taking.

Hankerson is the owner of Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles restaurants, which were raided Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Revenue.

All three Atlanta area locations have been closed.

Georgia Department of Revenue spokesman William Gaston says Hankerson is accused of taking a total of $650,000 in state sales and withholding taxes, which totals more than $1 million after penalties and interest.

Special Investigations Chief Jeff Mitchell says neither Knight nor any other restaurant employees face criminal charges.

HOME SALES SLOW: Americans pulled back from buying new homes in May, reversing strong gains made in April as sales fell sharply in the Northeast and West.

New-home sales declined 6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 551,000 from a downwardly revised 586,000 in April, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Still, sales are 6.4 percent higher year-to-date. Job growth and ultra-low mortgage rates have helped drive the increase, though the data can be volatile from month to month and across regions.

New-home sales have rebounded from the depths of the housing bust, though builders have focused on the upper echelon of buyers. The shift to the luxury market means that fewer new homes are being built, but the new homes are typically selling for higher prices.

May’s median sales price was up 1 percent from a year ago to $290,400. That figure would likely have been higher if not for the steep monthly declines in the pricier Northeast and Western regions.

Northeast sales slumped 33 percent from April to May while the West suffered a 15.6 percent decline. Sales barely slipped in the South but improved 12.9 percent in the traditionally affordable Midwest.

Higher price points generally help boost builders’ profit margins. But they also mean marketing to a smaller pool of potential buyers and constructing fewer homes. Despite recent gains in new-home sales, the current rate lags behind the historical average of roughly 650,000 a year.

Nor has construction necessarily relieved supply pressures. Fewer existing homes have come onto the market.

Associated Press

Quick takes

EQUITY ASSOCIATE: Dr. Alicia (Perri) Yokum has become an equity associate with the dental practice of Drs. Edward J. Roman and David N. Vaughan of Washington, Pa. She will be a co-owner in 2019.

A 2003 graduate of Weir High School, Yokum attended West Virginia University for her undergraduate and graduate education, and completed her doctor of dental surgery in 2010. Upon graduation, she accepted a position at E.A. Hawse Health Center in Baker, W.Va., where she practiced for four years.

Upon returning to the area in 2014, Yokum joined the dental office of Roman and Vaughan, and was a part-time faculty member of the WVU student dental clinic.

She resides in Houston, Pa., with her husband, Dr. Samuel Casey Yokum, and their son, Salvatore. She is the daughter of Cathy and Anthony Perri of New Cumberland.

NEW POSITION: Michael C. Thomas has accepted the position of chief compliance officer of Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth.

He has served as FBP legal counsel since July 2014 and came to the Portsmouth site after working at a law firm in Columbus. A native of the Hopedale area and a graduate of Buckeye Local High School, he is a 2013 graduate of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. Thomas earned his undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College.

As chief compliance officer, Thomas will review questions dealing with rules for government contracting, such as timekeeping, receipt of gifts, use of government property, business system compliance, business conduct, conflicts of interest, personnel investigations and ethical issues, questions or concerns involving the inspector general’s office. He will continue to support FBP in a legal capacity.

This company was formed by Babcock and Wilcox and Fluor Corp. to undertake the decommissioning and decontamination of the old gaseous diffusion plant near Piketon. This project is funded by the Department of Energy, employs nearly 2500 people and is projected to last until 2024.

He is the son of Lorie and Mike Thomas.

Grand opening: The Mitchell Madness and More LLC Fitness Studio at 93 Eighth St., Wellsburg, will hold a grand opening at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

There will be food, drawings for health and other services, a free class at 6 p.m. and a ribbon cutting by the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce.

Kroger profits: Kroger Co. reported a 9.8 percent rise in fiscal first-quarter profit on higher sales as it expanded its offerings and online ordering services.

The supermarket chain reported it earned $680 million, or 70 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 69 cents per share.

Its revenue rose 4.7 percent to $34.6 billion in the period. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $34.66 billion.

Excluding fuel sales, the company said revenue rose 7.8 percent.

Meanwhile, same-store sales rose just 0.4 percent. Excluding fuel centers, same-store sales rose 2.4 percent.

Kroger expects full-year earnings to be $2.19 to $2.28 per share.

The Cincinnati-based company bought fellow grocer Roundy’s for about $178 million last year, helping to expand in the Midwest. The company has 2,778 food stores under a range of brands, including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers. It also operates 1,387 fuel centers.

NO STRIKE: Hours after a midnight deadline had passed Macy’s announced a tentative deal with workers, averting what could have become the first strike at its flagship Manhattan store in more than four decades

Quick Takes

EXECUTIVE CHEF: Vincent Perri has been named executive chef at Revel + Roost, one of Pittsburgh’s newest eateries located in Market Square at the Hilton Garden Inn. Prior to this promotion, he had been the executive sous chef at Jacksons Restaurant onsite at the Hilton Garden Inn of Southpointe.

A 2007 graduate of Weir High School, Perri attended West Virginia University and graduated with an associate degree in specialized technology from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh in 2010.

During this time he interned at Andrews Steak and Seafood at Rivers Casino. Upon graduation, he accepted a position with DB Bistro Moderne in Miami, which is owned and operated by world renowned Chef Daniel Boulud.

Perri returned to the area in 2012 and resides in Weirton with his wife, Candice (Weigel), and their three children, Luciano, Rosalie and Enzo. He is the son of Cathy and Anthony Perri of New Cumberland.

EQUITY ASSOCIATE: Dr. Alicia (Perri) Yokum has become an equity associate with the dental practice of Drs. Edward J. Roman and David N. Vaughan of Washington, Pa. She will be a co-owner in 2019.

A 2003 graduate of Weir High School, Yokum attended WVU for her undergraduate and graduate education, and completed her doctor of dental surgery in 2010. Upon graduation, she accepted a position at E.A. Hawse Health Center in Baker, W.Va., where she practiced for four years.

Upon returning to the area in 2014, Yokum joined the dental office of Roman and Vaughan, and was a part-time faculty member of the WVU student dental clinic.

She resides in Houston, Pa., with her husband, Dr. Samuel Casey Yokum, and their son, Salvatore. She is the daughter of Cathy and Anthony Perri of New Cumberland.

VW PROBE: German prosecutors are investigating an employee at Volkswagen who allegedly asked his coworkers to delete or hide data in connection with the company’s emission scandal.

Braunschweig prosecutor Klaus Ziehe said Thursday the suspect, whose name was not released, had in an “indirect but clear enough way” made the request just before Volkswagen acknowledged using special software to rig U.S. emissions tests last year.

Ziehe said several employees moved files to flash drives, some of which have been recovered.

Ziehe said that “so far we do not think this was a huge data loss which would massively harm or delay the investigations in the emissions process.”

Volkswagen did not immediately return calls to comment.

HONDA RECALL: Japanese automaker Honda is recalling 784,000 vehicles in Japan due to faulty Takata Corp. air bag inflators for front passenger seats.

The recall, announced by Honda Motor Co. on Thursday, is the latest of many such recalls over inflators that may explode with too much force.

This recall covers the Odyssey minivan, Accord sedan, Clarity fuel cell and other models.

The Tokyo-based manufacturer said the recall was in response to a recent decision by the Japanese government, which followed one last month by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in which Takata agreed to add up to 40 million air bag inflators to an already massive recall.

Takata has not been able to produce enough replacement parts to keep up with the recalls, which may balloon to more than 100 million globally.

The expanded recall mainly covers inflators in front passenger air bags that do not have a chemical drying agent known as a desiccant.

The inflators are responsible for at least 11 deaths worldwide and more than 100 injuries.

Authorities in Malaysia have begun an investigation into two more recent deaths in cars with Takata air bags that ruptured.

Quick takes

NEW AGENT: The Schawn Conner State Farm agency, 2700 Sunset Blvd., Steubenville, officially opened its doors Wednesday.

Prior to becoming a State Farm agent, Conner worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative for GlaxosmithKline. He has a finance degree from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

“My goal is to help the people of the Ohio Valley and the surrounding communities to manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and get to a better state. I am committed to my customers and this community. I am a good neighbor.”

Helping to staff the office are Brenda Lavoie, Lisa Conner and Jennifer Lisbon. Conner and his wife have three children and plan to live in Wintersville.

FORUM PLANNED: Acuity Specialty Hospitals of the Ohio Valley, Capital Health Home Care, Respiratory Care Solutions LLC and Sienna Nursing and Rehab are co-sponsoring a meet-and-greet forum for health care professionals who would like to share ideas for preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions.

“Bridging the Gap” is scheduled to be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 16 at Sienna Nursing & Rehab, 250 Cadiz Road, Wintersville. The forum will bring together health care professionals who are interested in reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions in the Ohio Valley. Dr. William Johns will speak during the event.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, one in five patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, putting patients at risk for developing infections and other complications, and causing a financial strain for the health care system.

“Since it was started in 2013, Bridging the Gap has given participants an opportunity to discuss innovative strategies for reducing the number of preventable readmissions,” said Tracey L. Cutri, director of case Management at Acuity Specialty Hospital and event organizer. “Ultimately, this will help to improve patient care and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare system. We look forward to sharing many more ideas at the next meet and greet forum.”

To register, call (740) 317-9004 or (740) 314-9327, or e-mail tcutri@acuityhealthcare.net before June 13.

Salad lawsuit: A new wrongful death lawsuit alleges an Ohio woman died because she ate salad processed at a Dole plant linked to a listeria outbreak.

The Springfield News-Sun reports the lawsuit says a 79-year-old Franklin County woman died in February after eating salad from Dole’s Springfield plant.

The food processor is accused of failing to prevent contamination. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole declined to comment on the litigation.

In a separate lawsuit, Dole denied responsibility in a claim alleging a woman went into a coma after eating salad tainted by listeria.

The bacteria sometimes found in raw vegetables can lead to a gastrointestinal infection. Officials tracking the outbreak said 19 people reported illnesses in several states, and one person died in Michigan.

The plant shut down for about three months.

Auto sales slow: Sales of cars, trucks and SUVs fell 6 percent last month, to 1.54 million, according to AutoData Corp. It was the biggest monthly drop in nearly six years. The decline was unusual for May, a month when Americans typically buy cars ahead of summer road trips.

Most major automakers reported lower sales. General Motors sales fell 18 percent, Ford slipped 6 percent and Toyota sales dropped 10 percent compared with the same month a year ago. Volkswagen sales sank 17 percent. Fiat Chrysler and Subaru bucked the trend, with sales up 1 percent each, and Hyundai sales jumped 12 percent. Honda Motor Co. said sales fell 5 percent.

The declines could be a sign that U.S. auto sales are finally reaching a plateau after six straight years of growth – a streak not seen since the 1920s. Flattening sales could be good for consumers, at least in the short term. Automakers are offering more discounts in order to keep sales growing.