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VOL. 127 | NO. 202 | Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Digest

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Airport-Area Office Building Fetches $1.3M

Memphis-based Case Management Inc. has paid $1.3 million for the 55,004-square-foot, four-story office building at 3171 Directors Row in Whitehaven.

The company, which provides outpatient case management services to the mentally ill in the Memphis and Shelby County area, bought the building Sept. 28 from Tacoma, Wash.-based Directors Memphis LLC.

Built in 1973, the Class C office building sits on 2.53 acres along the west side of Directors Row near its intersection with East Brooks Road and directly west of Memphis International Airport. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $526,900.

The buyer filed a $1.3 million loan through Hope Federal Credit Union. Florence Hervery signed the trust deed as CEO of Case Management.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

American Airlines, 4 Others Announce Layoffs

Five firms doing business in Shelby County have notified the state they will be laying off employees or have already laid them off.

The notices to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development for October are topped by the 35 employees American Airlines plans to lay off in Memphis by the end of November.

The American Airlines layoffs are part of plans to cut 11,000 American employees across the airline’s system that were announced in September. American Airlines operations in Nashville are losing 59 employees.

American filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2011 and as part of the reorganization announced this year it would cut its flights by 1 to 2 percent through October.

American had four scheduled daily flights at Memphis International Airport in August, the same number it has had for the last year and more.

The other layoff notices in Shelby County were for Ritz Camera & Image LLC, which is laying off seven employees. Cambridgeport Air Systems loses 27 employees. Knowledge Universe Education LLC has nine layoffs and St. Clair Foods Inc. is laying off 16. All four companies notified the state they had laid off the workers by the end of September.

– Bill Dries

Number of Calls Swamps DCS Child Abuse Hotline

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services is trying to more quickly answer hotline calls about suspected child abuse.

According to The Tennessean that line rings more than 400 times daily. And usually, the caller is put on “hold.” The department says that results in as many as 25 percent of them hanging up.

Carla Aaron, who oversees the call center, said any call might have critical information about a child’s safety.

“We still are struggling,” said Aaron. “You’d love to answer every one on the first ring. But I think because of the call volume, and not knowing every day how many calls you’re going to get, and trying to predict the staff, that is an ongoing oversight that our management looks at every day.”

Over the summer, the department transferred five case managers to the center in Nashville, known as Central Intake. That brought the number of people there to 70.

Technology updates are expected to help, but the center has also been getting about 15 percent more calls over the last two years.

The incoming calls are the first step in beginning an investigation. Tennessee has been trying to speed up the launch of child abuse investigations as required by a federal lawsuit settlement.

The state has not yet met the standards mandated by the “Brian A.” lawsuit settlement.

– The Associated Press

Evans Petree Adds Construction Law

Evans Petree PC has hired four attorneys from Less, Getz & Lipman PLC.

They are Joseph Getz, Beth Stengel, John Willet and Tracy Bradshaw. Their addition brings the total number of shareholders at Evans Petree to 50 and coincides with the addition of construction law to the firm’s growing list of specialty practice areas.

The firm will focus on representing contractors, subcontractors, designers, surety bonding companies, developers, property owners and material suppliers during contract negotiations, disputes and resolutions. The firm added a specialized bankruptcy group in late 2011.

– Andy Meek

Red Door Hosting Economic Seminar

Red Door Wealth Management, a sister company to Cannon Wright Blount, is hosting a free economic seminar next week.

Titled, “What in the world is going on? Income opportunities in today’s low interest rate environment,” it will be held Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 756 Ridge Lake Blvd. Red Door’s chief investment officer John Phillips will provide attendees with historical trends of the market as well as background into the current debt crisis the U.S. and other nations face.

Red Door also will present examples of portfolios the company uses to protect clients from the downside and build assets consistently.

Wine and cheese will be offered, and seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to register by Oct. 19 by emailing gretchen@reddoorwealth.com or calling 681-0018.

– Andy Meek

US Retail Sales Jumped 1.1 Percent in September

Americans stepped up their spending at retail businesses in September, reflecting higher consumer confidence. The increase was driven by another strong month of auto sales and the release of the iPhone5.

Retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted $412.9 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday. That followed a 1.2 percent increase in August, which was revised slightly higher. Both were the largest gains since October 2010.

Sales rose last month in most major categories. Electronics and appliances surged 4.5 percent, in part because of iPhone sales. Sales at auto dealers increased 1.3 percent. Building materials and garden supplies, furniture and clothing sales all gained, too.

The retail sales report is the government’s first monthly look at consumer spending, which drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity. The report follows a jump in consumer confidence, a steep drop in the unemployment rate and a modest housing recovery that is helping lift home prices.

Economists said the gains in retail spending could help drive stronger growth in the second half of the year.

Some economists noted that the September jump in retail spending was driven by iPhone sales. The gain may be reversed in coming months.

Part of the increase was driven by higher prices. Gas station sales also rose 2.5 percent. And food sales increased 1.2 percent. The recent drought may have driven some food prices higher, economists noted.

Still, excluding autos and gas, sales were up a solid 0.9 percent in September.

– The Associated Press

US Business Stockpiles Grew 0.6 Percent in August

U.S. companies restocked their shelves at a solid pace in August while sales rose for a second straight month. The combination of higher stockpiles and increased sales should help to boost economic growth.

Business inventories grew 0.6 percent in August following a July gain of 0.8 percent that had been the strongest since January, the Commerce Department said Monday. Sales were up 0.5 percent in August following a 0.9 percent rise in July that followed a big drop in June.

Companies typically boost their stockpiles when they anticipate sales will rise in coming months. Faster restocking helps drive economic growth. When businesses order more goods, it typically leads to more factory production.

Total business stockpiles rose to $1.60 trillion. That is 22.4 percent higher than the low reached in September 2009.

For August, inventories rose 0.6 percent at the manufacturing and retail levels and were up 0.5 percent at wholesale businesses.

The sales increase reflected gains at both the retail and wholesale levels which offset a 0.3 percent drop in sales by manufacturers.

Wholesale stockpiles account for about 27 percent of total business inventories. Stockpiles held by retailers make up about one-third of the total and manufacturing inventories represent about 40 percent.

– The Associated Press

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