(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 4 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Kohl’s Corp. reported today that total sales for November decreased 13.7 percent from the same time period a year ago. On a comparable store basis, sales decreased 17.5 percent.

Total year-to-date sales decreased 0.9 percent over the comparable prior year period. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 7.7 percent.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s president and chief executive officer, commented, “November sales results were as expected, affected by both lower traffic than last year, and a significant sales shift due to a later Thanksgiving. Post-Thanksgiving results have been significantly stronger than our prior trend, driven by planned strong promotion.

See the Kohl’s press release: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20081204005158

— With a thriving computer science program at the University of Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle said it’s no surprise that Google decided to locate its first state office in Madison.

Doyle said he was only half kidding when he told the gathering, “I’m looking forward to the day when we’re here and Google announces they’re moving their corporate headquarters” to Madison.

Doyle, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and UW Chancellor Biddy Martin were among the dignitaries Wednesday night to welcome the Internet search company at the opening of its data center at 301 Blount St. The office will also act as an operational site for regional commerce.

See more on the event: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142802

— Doyle also discussed the condition of the state’s budget, saying he would be reluctant to roll back the repeal of tax cuts on Social Security income, medical insurance premiums and child care costs, because there would be “fairer” ways to raise revenues.

While Doyle said “everything’s on the table,” he can’t see a scenario in which the state would go back on its repeal of the tax on Social Security. The governor has said he would only look at raising revenues through an income tax surcharge or an increase in sales tax as a last resort, and said he is still scanning the budget for cuts.

“I think the real challenge now is to first see where do you really go to the point you can’t go any further with the cuts. Where do you go where you’re not willing to take that next step of really devastating the schools or really making tuition at the university go to levels that people can’t even afford. We’ve got some work to do to get to that level, so we’ll see,” he said.

Read more in the WisPolitics Budget Blog: http://blogs.wispolitics.com/2008/12/despite-deficit-doyle-says-tax-cuts.html

— Despite troubling economic times, real estate executives during a Milwaukee panel discussion said that areas along Interstate 94 south and west of Milwaukee will likely see continued commercial development.

According to John McCardle, senior vice president with NAI-MLG Commercial, a global commercial real estate firm with offices in Milwaukee, the majority of growth should come in the south corridor of Interstate 94 near the Wisconsin-Illinois border, pending a highway expansion that would add two lanes.

“It’s our market, we should take it,” McCardle said Wednesday, referring to need for Wisconsinites to take advantage of opportunities in the area, even as people from Chicago and Illinois are already doing the same.  

Contrary to popular belief, McCardle also said there is plenty of commercial real estate activity in the city. But, in reference to a pending city-wide paid sick leave requirement, McCardle said a number of Milwaukee’s commercial tenants are showing a desire to relocate outside of the city to avoid falling within the ordinance’s jurisdiction.

Read more from the panel discussion: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142803

— Dane County businesses continued to feel the effects of an economic downturn, and business owners are pessimistic about prospects for 2009, according to a report released today by First Business Bank.

The First Business Economic Survey of Dane County, sponsored by First Business Bank-Madison and the UW-Madison School of Business, showed that all business sectors reported declines in seven primary economic indicators. Hardest hit was the service industry, where 28 percent of businesses reported a decrease in employees.

In addition, 44 percent of businesses, the highest level in the survey’s history, reported that they were unable to meet expectations for 2008, and that trend is expected to continue in 2009.

See more on the survey: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142782

— Wisconsin’s large manufacturers are more likely than small firms to be engaged in some “next generation” practices that will help them reach world-class performance levels, according to a new study released by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

It concluded that Wisconsin’s smallest manufacturers (those with less than $10 million in annual sales) are more likely to face challenges in achieving world-class performance, although there are areas — like sustainability — where smaller companies can more easily excel. While the study showed some disparities between large and small companies, it also showed that firms of any size could follow strategies to become world class.

“For firms that implement these strategies, they get great results,” Mike Klonsinski, the executive director of WMEP, said Wednesday. “This says to us that you are not precluded from winning because you are small. Small manufacturers are less likely to start the efforts and large companies tend to be more out-front in pursuing these strategies.”

A key finding of the study is that top-performing Wisconsin firms are focused on deploying tactics and strategies consistent with Next Generation Manufacturing. But there are concerns about state manufacturers who aren’t engaged in change or transformation, as well as firms that recognize the importance of next generation strategies but are unable or unwilling to act.

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142750

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Press Releases
· Cascade Asset Management: Launches first ever sale of computer equipment to the general public
· Cornucopia Institute: Last minute rulemaking by Bush USDA threatens organic farmers
· First Business Bank: First Business Economic Survey of Dane County reveals downturn has hit the area
· Forward Community Investments: Community Builder Award celebrates inspired leadership
· Incentive Marketing Association: Oshkosh businesswoman named to 2009 Board of Directors
· Planet Propaganda: Creates Shopbop.com’s “Denim Guide” online video series helping fashionistas find the perfect pair of jeans
· Ruffin’ It Resort: Santa Paws party fundraiser on Dec. 7
· TrafficCast International: Tim Courtney to lead sales operations
· United Council of University of Wisconsin Students, Inc.: UW flunks affordability
· UW System: Measuring Up underscores importance of Growth Agenda for Wisconsin
· UW-Stout: Regents to consider two new majors at UW-Stout
· Wisconsin Farmers Union: WFU and partners announce launch of Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign
· WMEP: Next Generation Manufacturing a winning strategy for Wisconsin firms

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


TOP STORIES
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Kalahari Resort adds 65 jobs with new indoor theme park: The Kalahari Resort will add 65 jobs in December with the opening of a $20 million, 110,000-square-foot indoor theme park at its Wisconsin Dells resort and convention complex. The new theme park will provide management, security, maintenance, food service and concierge jobs to the Wisconsin Dells area. In addition to on-site employment, the indoor theme park will give local vendors more growth opportunities, said Todd Nelson, the president and owner of Kalahari Resorts.
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily34.html

Gannett Co. eliminates 22 local staff positions: Gannett Central Wisconsin Media on Wednesday announced the elimination of 22 positions in response to difficult business conditions related to the current downturn in the economy and an ongoing transition in the newspaper industry. The payroll cuts, effective this week, included 11 positions in Wausau, two in Stevens Point, one in Marshfield and one in Wisconsin Rapids. Four were eliminated as a result of retirement, and three were open positions that will remain unfilled.
http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/article/20081204/WRT03/812040444/1844

Press-Gazette announces job cuts: The Green Bay Press-Gazette announced Wednesday the elimination of 22 jobs at the daily newspaper and its associated weekly publications. The Press-Gazette on Tuesday and Wednesday laid off 14 people at the daily and the weeklies. Three other workers accepted voluntary buyouts, and five open positions were eliminated. The reductions were 7 percent of total daily and weekly positions.
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081204/GPG03/812040642/1247

P-C cuts 25 staff positions: Twenty-four employees were given layoff notices at The Post-Crescent this week as part of a 10 percent work force reduction throughout the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc. The involuntary layoffs, 5 percent of The P-C’s local work force, affected employees in the editorial, advertising, creative services, circulation and finance departments. Another editorial employee accepted a job elsewhere, creating a vacancy that will go unfilled.
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081204/APC03/812040461/1028

Presto Products Co. layoffs total 250: Layoffs at Presto Products Co. in Weyauwega will total 250 workers, more than double the number reported Tuesday.
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081204/APC03/812040470/1028

M&I completes acquisition of Miami firm: Marshall & Ilsley Corp. has completed its acquisition of a majority interest in Taplin, Canida & Habacht Inc. Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley (NYSE: MI) said Wednesday that Taplin, Canida & Habacht will be part of the investment management unit within M&I’s Wealth Management business, which also provides trust, brokerage, and private banking services to individuals, institutions, and corporate clients. The business unit, under the name Taplin, Canida & Habacht, will maintain its headquarters in Miami.
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily35.html

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WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS

GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant
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TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Choices abound for the techhead on your shopping list
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316906

ECONOMY (back to top)
– New North’s annual summit set Monday
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081204/APC03/812040457/1028

– Bally Total Fitness files for Chapter 11
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily36.html

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Orbitec divides into five business units
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/317043

– Manufacturing survey shows emphasis on improving practices
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/317010

– Survey shows Wisconsin manufacturers lag in worker training
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35473319.html

– Study: Manufacturers focused on strategies
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily26.html

– Chicago Tube and Iron will move to new Fond du Lac warehouse
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35492554.html

LABOR (back to top)
– UMOS, U.S. Cellular team up for training
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/story16.html?b=1228107600^1740602

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Auto dealerships for sale
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081204/APC03/812040467/1028

– Sheboygan woman marketing Paint Glider
http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20081130/SHE03/811300349/1096/SHE03

– Bakery opens Friday in Lake Mills
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/317046

– Snow removal is big business here, even in the lean times
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35516114.html

INVESTING (back to top)
– Update: Cost cutting helps Sonic Foundry lower loss; stock delisting deadline extended 90 days
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316876

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Madison: CDA pocketbook may get bump
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316871

– Foreclosures fall 23% in SE Wisconsin in November
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35477284.html

– Rezoning clears way for Postal center
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily32.html

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Kind: GAO Report Shows Illegal Farm Subsidies Went to Millionaires
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1455&yr=2008

– State & National Cheese Production Up in October
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1456&yr=2008

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Regional transit authority runs into resistance
http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/35479139.html

RETAIL (back to top)
– Online retailers see surge on ‘Cyber Monday’
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/317076

REGULATION (back to top)
– Cudahy rejects Wal-Mart Supercenter proposal
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35474729.html

TOURISM (back to top)
– Jellystone Park owner seeks bankruptcy protection
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35476979.html

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Report ranks Wisconsin 17th in U.S. health
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35473059.html

– ProHealth plans Waukesha hospital parking ramp
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily33.html

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– M&I, Visa renew partnership
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily31.html

– TCF Bank will add Talking ATMs
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily29.html

– Blackhawk Bancorp declares dividend
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily28.html

– Sheboygan Falls Insurance acquired
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily27.html

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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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