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VOL. 127 | NO. 207 | Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Daily Digest

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Wolfchase Nissan, Honda Owner Files Loan on Properties

The owners of the Wolfchase Nissan and Wolfchase Honda dealerships at 2956 N. Germantown Road and 2982 N. Germantown Road, respectively, have filed a $10.6 million loan on the properties.

Highway 64 LLC and MBR Enterprises LLC filed the deed of trust and assignment of rents and leases Oct. 17 through Wells Fargo Bank NA.

The Wolfchase Nissan dealership at 2956 N. Germantown Road includes a 37,274-square-foot facility that was built in 2006 and sits on 4.1 acres along the east side of Germantown Road north of U.S. 64. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $4.2 million.

Directly north of that property is the Wolfchase Honda dealership at 2982 N. Germantown Road, which includes a 51,945-square-foot facility that was built in 2002 and sits on 11.8 acres. Its 2012 appraisal is $6.9 million.

Joseph H. Schaeffer III signed the trust deed as president of Highway 64 LLC.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

FedEx Sees Online Shoppers Powering Holiday Record

FedEx expects to ship a record number of packages during the holidays, thanks to shoppers’ growing fondness for buying online.

The company expects to handle 280 million shipments between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 13 percent from the same stretch last year.

The forecast, released Monday, comes against a background of lackluster growth in the global economy. FedEx has warned the economy is stalling and expects conditions to get worse next year. It’s making big cuts in the businesses that have been the hardest hit, including its Express unit that moves top-priority shipments by air.

But the number of shipments FedEx handles at the holidays has climbed steadily along with the growth of Internet purchases. The volume of packages it handles on its busiest day, which varies according to Christmas shipping deadlines, has nearly doubled since 2005.

On FedEx’s busiest day this year, projected to be Dec. 10, it forecasts 19 million packages will move through its network, up 10 percent from 2011. That’s in line with the increase FedEx has seen in years with normal growth rates, noted Deutsche Bank analyst Justin Yagerman. FedEx’s holiday shipment growth has ranged from 4.3 percent to 18.3 percent since 2006.

Holiday shipments will be driven by sales of personal electronics, apparel, luxury goods and items from large Internet retailers. FedEx moves the bulk of its cheaper, lighter-weight shipments from online and catalog retailers through its SmartPost service, a partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.

FedEx SmartPost has been a huge driver of growth for the company since it was formed. Average daily package volume grew 18 percent in the fiscal first quarter ended in August, more than three times the growth rate of FedEx’s overall ground shipments in the U.S.

The ground segment, which moves mostly non-priority shipments by truck, has held up despite slower growth as consumers and businesses opt for slower methods of shipping to save money.

– The Associated Press

Electrolux Shows Third Quarter Improvement

Electrolux, the Swedish parent company of Electrolux North America Cooking Products, reported better sales and earnings in the third quarter of 2012 than a year ago.

The worldwide company’s operating margin, the measurement of the proportion of the company’s revenue left after paying variable costs of production, was above 6 percent for all of its divisions except Europe.

The improvement included North America where the company is building a new Memphis plant in the Frank Pidgeon Industrial Park. Earlier this month, sign crews put the Electrolux logo on the plant that will make stoves and ranges. It symbolizes that construction of the plant is past the halfway point of completion.

Electrolux President and CEO Keith McLoughlin characterized market demand for Electrolux products in North America as “slightly positive.”

“We expect this trend to continue to improve, supported by gradual recovery in the housing market,” he added.

He called the company’s performance in Europe soft.

“The market situation in Europe is likely to get worse before it gets better and we are minimizing the negative effect by launching new products and eliminating costs,” McLoughlin said in a written statement that also attributed the problems in Europe to “weak consumer confidence.”

– Bill Dries

Angel Investment Group Announces Investment Option

Angel Investment Advisory Group and Brookstone Capital Management have launched an investment strategy called SMARToption.

The new strategy is sub-advised by a money management firm and is intended to grow wealth while protecting capital. SMARToption does not rely on market timing, asset allocation or buy-and-hold strategies, and it seeks to maximize returns and minimize losses in all three types of market conditions (bull, bear and flat market cycles).

Angel Investment Advisory Group is a local Memphis full-service financial firm that offers a wide range of financial products to individuals and business owners. It has been in Memphis for more than 20 years.

– Andy Meek

The Orvis Co. to Open in Laurelwood

The Orvis Co. has leased a 6,000-square-foot space in Laurelwood Shopping Center and is expected to open in early February.

The 156-year-old, Manchester, Vt.-based retailer supplies fly-fishing gear, exclusive lines of clothing and accessories for men and women, home accents, gifts, pet products and sporting goods.

Orvis’ new store is located between The Grove Grill and Booksellers of Laurelwood, next door to J. Jill and South House Jewelry.

The 10-year lease brings the Laurelwood Shopping Center’s retail space to 100 percent occupancy.

Construction will begin soon to completely renovate the space, which was previously occupied by Sachi and Cotton Tails before those retailers expanded to a larger store within the shopping center a few years ago.

Orvis represents a growing trend of upscale retailers entering Memphis outdoor lifestyle shopping centers in recent times.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Lululemon Athletica Inc. opened in Regalia shopping center in August and Philadelphia-based Free People opened at The Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown in September.

– Sarah Baker

SunTrust Earnings Rise Sharply

SunTrust Banks Inc. on Monday posted sharply higher third-quarter earnings, largely due to the regional bank’s sale of shares it owns in The Coca-Cola Co.

But SunTrust reported higher expenses amid persistently low interest rates, and its shares slipped in morning trading Monday.

SunTrust reported net income available to common shareholders of nearly $1.07 billion, or $1.98 per share, for the July to September period. That was up from $211 million, or 39 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

That result beat analyst expectations for profit of $1.86 per share, on average, according to FactSet.

Citi analyst Josh Levin said in a note to clients that there are “many moving parts” to the company’s third-quarter results, and his assessment is that the results “may fall somewhat short of investor expectations.”

Levin also said it was unclear how analysts factored SunTrust’s one-time items into their financial forecasts, so it was unclear whether the company earnings of $1.98 per-share exceeded expectations. Levin had expected $2.05 per share.

The latest quarter’s earnings were boosted $753 million, or $1.40 per share, by the positive net impact of several one-time items resulting from SunTrust’s Sept. 6 announcement of moves to strengthen its financial position and reduce risks.

The Atlanta-based bank accelerated its plans to sell Coca-Cola shares, resulting in a pre-tax gain $1.9 billion. In addition to selling shares of the beverage maker, SunTrust also donated shares of Coca-Cola valued at $38 million to the SunTrust Foundation. That donation was among the factors that increased the company’s non-interest expenses.

– The Associated Press

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