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VOL. 129 | NO. 116 | Monday, June 16, 2014

Daily Digest

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Aren Investments Buys Winchester Haverty’s

Local real estate investment firm Aren Investments LLC has paid $1.1 million for the Haverty’s furniture store at 6870 Winchester Road in Hickory Hill.

The company, which owns a handful of commercial properties around town, bought the 48,768-square-foot, freestanding retail store in a June 2 special warranty deed from Kirsch Associates LP.

Built in 1995, the Class C store sits on 2.7 acres along the north side of Winchester Road slightly west of its intersection with Riverdale Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal was close to $2 million.

Aren Investments filed an $850,000 real estate deed of trust through BancorpSouth Bank. Igal Elfezouaty signed the trust deed as sole member of the borrower.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Tennessee Bar Poll Calls for Judge Retention

A first-ever poll of Tennessee Bar Association members shows those the majority of those polled recommend the retention of three of the state’s Supreme Court justices on the Aug. 7 statewide ballot.

The 12,000 bar association members were asked to rate each of the three justices as “highly recommend,” “recommend” or “do not recommend.”

The bar association did not say how many of the attorneys responded.

For Chief Justice Gary Wade, 76.7 percent of those responding chose “highly recommend,” with 75.9 percent highly recommending Justice Sharon Lee and 74.4 percent highly recommending Justice Connie Clark.

The three justices are up for a yes/no retention vote on the August ballot and face organized opposition including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

– Bill Dries

Evolve Bank Adds Compliance Officer

Evolve Bank & Trust has added a new name to its compliance department.

Janet Hendrix is a new officer in the department, bringing 25 years of banking and compliance experience with her. In a statement about Hendrix’s addition to the company, Evolve President and CEO Scott Stafford said her expertise will be vital to Evolve as it continues to grow and expand.

Headquartered in Memphis, Evolve currently operates six full-service branches and loan production offices in Arkansas and Tennessee, with more than 30 loan production offices around the country.

– Andy Meek

Senate Candidate Ball to Spend $400,000 on Ads

U.S. Senate candidate Gordon Ball says he is pouring up to $400,000 of his own money into a statewide television advertising campaign to bolster his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Ball, a Knoxville attorney, told reporters in Nashville on Friday that he will emphasize his moderate political leanings, which he said stand in contrast with what he called the more liberal position of his chief rival Terry Adams.

Ball, who estimated his net worth as between $10 million and $20 million, said he plans to self-fund much of his Senate campaign.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is running for a third term this year. His chief campaign adviser, Tom Ingram, is shrugging off any Tennessee implications of the surprise GOP primary defeat this week of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.

– The Associated Press

P.F. Chang's Confirms Credit Card Breach

P.F. Chang's confirmed Friday that data from credit and debit cards used at its restaurants was stolen.

The company learned about the security breach on Tuesday from the U.S. Secret Service and began investigating the breach with the agency and a team of forensics experts.

While it knows that customers were exposed, it doesn't know how many, when it happened, or which restaurants were affected.

The company is working with credit card companies to determine which cards may have been affected.

All P.F. Chang's restaurants are now using manual credit card imprinting devices to process card payments while the investigation continues. There are 209 P.F. Chang's restaurants around the country.

For now, the company is asking customers to monitor their credit and bank accounts and report any fraudulent activity to their card companies. It also launched a website, pfchangs.com/security, to keep people updated on the investigation and answer questions.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, owns its namesake restaurants and Pei Wei Asian Diners. The company was taken private in 2012 by Centerbridge partners LP for about $1.1 billion.

A wave of data breaches at other major U.S. corporations is putting consumes on alert and raising awareness about how vulnerable the system is.

Late last year, thieves stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers from customers shopping at Target Corp. stores. Personal information of about 70 million Target customers was also taken. Other companies, such as Neiman Marcus, Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. and Michaels Stores Inc., have also revealed breaches of their systems.

– The Associated Press

Cheaper Gas, Food Push Down Producer Prices

The prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services fell in May, offering evidence that inflation is mild.

The producer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer, dropped 0.2 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The decline was driven lower by cheaper food and gas, and follows two months of strong gains that had suggested inflation might be perking up after being dormant for two years.

In the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 2 percent, matching the Federal Reserve's inflation target. That's down from an annual gain of 2.1 percent in April.

"The underlying details of the report suggest that producer price inflation is still fairly contained despite the big increases in the last few months," Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS Securities, said in a research note.

Excluding the volatile food, energy and profit margin categories, core producer prices were unchanged in May. The result comes after a 0.3 percent gain in each of the two preceding months. Core prices have risen 2 percent in the past year.

Wholesale food prices fell 0.2 percent after four months of steep increases. And wholesale gas prices dropped 0.9 percent, suggesting consumers may see some relief at the gas pump in coming months.

Another reason producer prices fell: retailer and wholesaler profit margins declined 0.5 percent after two months of strong gains.

The drop in profit margins comes after robust increases in April and March. Retailer and wholesaler profit margins had fallen in the winter as companies rolled out discounts to lure shoppers through the doors during harsh winter storms.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220