The Top 10 Business Stories of 2008

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008 12:00 am  

John Glasgow, CFO of CDI Contractors, disappeared on Jan. 28. Dillard's owned a half-interest in CDI and was embroiled in a bookkeeping dispute with CDI management when Glasgow, of Little Rock, vanished.

The northwest Arkansas market continued to absorb new homes amid low unemployment (3.5 percent in October) and favorable interest rates.

The tally of unoccupied homes in the Benton and Washington County markets continued to decline, with 1,343 units on the market on Sept. 30, 2008, compared with 1,594 in the second quarter.

Mixed in with the sunshine were clouds in the form of increasing foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif.

In Benton County, there were 491 foreclosure filings in October (one in every 165 houses), 20 percent higher than in September and 72 percent higher than in October 2007.

In Washington County, there were 278 foreclosure filings in October (one in every 287 houses), 34 percent higher than September and 126 percent higher than in October 2007.

Combined new and existing home sales in Arkansas remained on a three-year slide, according to the Arkansas Realtors Association.

In a year-to-year October comparison, home sales in a 42-county area of the state fell by 18 percent, 4,805 fewer than 2007.

Accompanying declining sales, the number of real estate agents in Arkansas dropped about 7 percent in November compared with a year earlier. That attrition is expected to continue into 2009.

While some observers hope that the residential markets will stabilize in 2009, others believe it may be 2010 before upward trends return to the scene.

10.) Wal-Mart's New CEO
The news on Nov. 21 that H. Lee Scott Jr. was stepping down as CEO and president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. took retail analysts by surprise.

The 59-year-old, who has led the world's largest company for nearly nine years, said he would retire at the end of January. Scott said, however, that he would remain as chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors.

Wal-Mart's board of directors said its international division president, Mike Duke, 58, would replace Scott on Feb. 1. Duke has been with Wal-Mart since 1995 and also has spent time in logistics and as CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. 



Please read our comments policy before commenting.