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16 posts from November 2012


Kleinheinz to close hedge fund, Bloomberg reports

Bloomberg News is reporting that Fort Worth hedge fund manager John Kleinheinz is winding down his Kleinheinz Capital Partners and will return investors their money. Bloomberg cites a letter sent to clients. According to regulatory filings, Kleinheinz Capital had $4.3 billion in regulatory assets as of Dec. 31, Bloomberg said. 

A link to the item is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


Pier 1 says third-quarter sales increased 10.9 percent

Pier 1 Imports said today that third-quarter sales increased by 10.9 percent, despite the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and comparable-store sales increased by 7.9 percent.

The Fort Worth-based home furnishings retailer said sales for the three months ended Nov. 24 totaled $425 million, compared to $383 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company attributed the sales growth to increased store traffic and higher average ticket sales, while quarterly merchandise margins at the store level were essentially flat.

Third-quarter earnings per share are expected to be approximately 22 cents a share (GAAP) and 25 cents (non-GAAP) compared to 21 cents last year. Third-quarter results are scheduled to be released on Dec. 13.

About 225 stores were temporarily closed due to Hurricane Sandy, primarily from power outages in affected areas, and 50 stores operated on reduced hours. All of the stores were reopened and fully operational by the end of the second week of November, except for one store on Long Island.

Alex W. Smith, Pier 1's president and CEO, said: "We’re pleased to deliver strong sales growth this quarter, as customers responded particularly well to our fall assortments. Excluding the impact of Hurricane Sandy, we estimate that third quarter comp store sales would have increased slightly over 9%."

He also said the chain had "a terrific start to the holiday season, including a very strong Thanksgiving weekend."

-- Steve Kaskovich


Texas unemployment rate drops to 6.6 percent

Texas’ unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in October from 6.8 percent the previous month, as six of the state’s 11 major industries reported gains, led by education and health. Employers added 36,600 payroll jobs in the month and have added 269,000 jobs in the past year, which has seen all but one of the state’s major industries add positions, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. The annual gain amounts to 3 percent, well over the U.S. rate of 1.8 percent in the same time, and the state’s jobless rate is well below the national rate of 7.9 percent. The category that includes education and health jobs added 13,700 jobs in October, the largest monthly gain ever, TWC said. The category is up 43,000 jobs over the past year.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, employers added 4,600 new positions in October. The area’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, which is unadjusted for seasonal variations. It compares to the state’s unadjusted rate of 6.3 percent.

-- Jim Fuquay


Downtown Fort Worth office building posted for foreclosure

A foreclosure notice has been posted on a downtown Fort Worth office building after the owner defaulted on an $11 million note on the property.

The ownership group, 300 Burnett, Llc., an entity of Peloton Real Estate Partners in Dallas, bought the 129,000-square-foot building at Third and Burnett streets in November 2007 and financed the deal through Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. in Fort Wayne, Ind., deed records show. That loan matured Oct. 1 and the lender posted the property Nov. 13 for the Dec. 4 sale.

Murl RichardsonÖ , a Peloton development partner, declined to comment on the posting.

Not all properties posted are foreclosed because the owner is able to come current on the note.

The building, built in 1976 and the former headquarters for Inspire Insurance Co., is now a multitenant Class B office building. The property is about 62 percent leased.

The Peloton group bought the building from a father-and-son investment team from Midland, which owned the property since December 2003. Inspire Insurance Co. was formed in 1995 as a spin-off of Fort Worth insurer Millers Insurance Group, which filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

_ Sandra Baker

GameStop shares jump despite big third-quarter loss

Grapevine-based GameStop reported a big loss for the third quarter after taking $679 million in write-downs, but also said it expects the holiday season to produce slightly better profits than analysts are predicting for the fourth quarter. GameStop’s shares (ticker: GME) were up more than 4 percent in early trading on the news.

The world’s biggest video-game retailer said third-quarter sales were off 8.9 percent in the third quarter, to $1.77 billion, compared to a year earlier. It blamed the drop on an unusually strong 2011 third quarter that saw the introduction of “major new software titles.” Its net loss for the quarter was $624 million after the non-cash write-downs, which included $627 million in goodwill and $52 million in asset impairments. The company said the actions were based on a decline in its share price in the second quarter and on its international operations. Not counting the write-downs, GameStop earned $47 million in the quarter, or 38 cents a share, which topped Wall Street estimates by 2 cents.

It said that despite a “tough video-game market,” it expects to earn between $2.07 to $2.27 a share in the fourth quarter. The midpoint of that range, $2.17, is 1 cent above the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. A wild card is the scheduled Sunday release of Nintendo Co.’s new Wii U, the slumping video-game industry’s first new home console in six years.

-- Jim Fuquay


Trinity Habitat for Humanity buys property on FW's west side to relocate

FORT WORTH — Trinity Habitat for Humanity has bought a building off West Loop 820 and 4.6 acres of land where it plans to consolidate its Fort Worth operations early next year.

The nonprofit recently bought an 11,390-square-foot building at 2801 West Loop 820 that sits on about 2 acres and an adjacent 2.65-acres, said Gage YagerÖ , executive director. The acquisition comes as part of the organization’s $3.4 million capital campaign that began about two years ago, he said.

Following some renovations, the building will become Trinity’s new offices and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse/barn will be added to allow the group to consolidate from a 5,300-square-foot office at 3345 S. Jones St., and an 8,000-square-foot warehouse about a half-block away, Yager said.

"We’ve been here a long time and we are out of space," Yager said. "It’s a very different and better setting," he said of the new site.

The building and 2-acres was sold by Ten Trec, Ltd., which operated a computer company there since 1997. The remaining land was sold by Service King.

Gary Vasseur with Coldwell Banker Commercial Searcy Vasseur Group negotiated the transaction.

Yager said the organization, which builds and rehabs homes in Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise Counties, hopes to move into the new building in late spring. It also plans to build a model Habitat for Humanity home on the site.

The group has raised $1.8 million of the campaign,Yager said. Some of that money was used to buy a building on Mayfield Road in Arlington where Trinity Habitat operates a ReStore store.

_ Sandra Baker

Tarrant auto sales way up in October

Sales of new cars and trucks in Tarrant County jumped 44 percent in October, putting them up 14 percent for the year, according to vehicle registrations counted by Freeman Publishers in Dallas. For North Texas' four biggest counties -- Tarrant, Dallas, Denton and Collin -- combined sales were up 24 percent in October and up 18 percent for the year. Dallas County sales were up 12 percent in October and up 18 percent for the year, Collin County was  up 25 percent in October and up 26 percent for the year, while Denton County slipped 1 percent in October and was up 17 percent for the year.

-- Jim Fuquay

Veterans "Hiring Red, White & You!" job fair Thursday in Arlington

Workforce Solutions, the Texas Veterans Commission, and Texas Workforce Commission are putting on a job fair for veterans, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 15), at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame at the Ballpark in Arlington, 1000 Ballpark Way in Arlington.

Here's the bullet on it from Workforce Solutions:

This job fair is part of TWC’s Hiring Red, White & You! Campaign. The campaign is a statewide event with job fairs scheduled in 28 local workforce development areas on November 15. 

Hiring Red, White & You! aims to connect Texas veterans with Texas employers who value the skills, experience, discipline, and other exceptional qualities inherent with a military background. Hiring Red, White & You! will help provide opportunities for employment to the estimated 922,000 veterans in the Texas workforce.

“The talent and experiences our veterans bring back from their service in the military are an important, and, all too often, untapped resource for our communities,” Gov. Rick Perry said. “The Hiring Red, White & You! Campaign is a great opportunity to help veterans utilize their skills to get a job in Texas, and help employers find talented and experienced individuals to fill open job opportunities.”

Over 100 local employers will be attending the job fair at the Ballpark in Arlington including  AT&T, Bank of America, Bell Helicopter, CVS/Caremark, Dallas Fire Rescue, JPMorgan Chase, and Southwest Airlines. Attending employers are looking to fill thousands of open positions. Registration is not required for veterans seeking employment.  However, veterans are asked to register with WorkInTexas.com prior to attending a job fair.

Please visit www.workforcesolutions.net for more information.

- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter

BNSF continues to be a profit leader for Berkshire Hathaway

Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway continues to be a top performer for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

BNSF’s net earnings in the third quarter totaled $937 million, up 22 percent from the same period in 2011, according to the Omaha-Neb.-based company’s 10-Q report filed with the SEC on Nov. 2.

Revenue increased by 8 percent, to $5.3 billion, as shipped volume of industrial products, including shale oil, soared by 14 percent.

For the first nine months, BNSF earned $2.44 billion, amounting to about a quarter of Berkshire’s profits and nearly as much as the conglomerate took in from investment income on its core insurance business.

No wonder Buffett has been singing BNSF’s praises ever since he bought the railroad in 2010.

On another Fort Worth note, “bolt-on” acquisitions helped electronics distributor TTI boost revenues for the Berkshire group that encompasses service businesses. But the filing noted that “TTI’s earnings for the first nine months of 2012 declined 16 percent versus 2011 due primarily to weaker customer demand and intensifying price competition over the past year.”

Overall at Berkshire, which owns about 80 companies, third-quarter net earnings grew by 62 percent to $4.05 billion.

— Steve Kaskovich  


National Archives building in FW sold to real estate investment trust

FORT WORTH — The building that houses the Southwest Region Records Center has been sold to a Virginia based real estate investment trust.

Gladstone Commercial Corp. said it paid $20 million to buy the more than 205,000-square-foot facility at 1400 John Burgess Drive from K/H Lakewood Property, a limited partnership of Kessinger/Hunter & Co., in Kansas City, Mo.

K/H Lakewood developed the building for the National Archives and Records Administration. The Southwest Region Records Center moved in in November 2006. The federal government has a 20-year lease on the building. The building sits on 14.4 acres in the Carter Industrial Park.

The facility, east of Interstate 35W off Everman Parkway, stores federal records for agencies in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, including U.S. district and bankruptcy courts and Internal Revenue Service documents.

Gladstone Commercial currently owns 79 properties.

_ Sandra Baker


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