The Whispers Blog
Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
Send us tips.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, looking to mitigate a streak of same-store sales declines in the U.S., is once again looking to its international unit for growth.
Bloomberg reports today that Wal-Mart has set its sights on its Mexico and Central American unit, planning to spend $1.1 billion to open stores and improve e-commerce in the region. On the drawing board are 3.7 million square feet of new space, with Mexican floor space growing by 5 percent and Central American stores expanding by 7.6 percent.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is looking to Latin America to help offset declines at home. Sales at Wal-Mart U.S. stores open at least 12 months, excluding fuel, fell 0.4 percent last quarter.
Wal-Mart’s Mexican business, known as Walmex, will spend 3.5 billion pesos of its expansion budget on remodeling and maintenance. It will devote 1.2 billion pesos to logistics and 1.9 billion to e-commerce and other technology.
The announcement comes just a few days after Wal-Mart reported fourth-quarter earnings showing a 21 percent decline in profit. This, in a quarter that included the all-important holiday shopping season.
Wal-Mart has increasingly relied on its international units as growth has slowed in the United States. Wal-Mart's CEO, Doug McMillon, had been the leader of the retailer's international operations until he was tapped to lead the entire company last fall.
You won't want to miss Arkansas Business Managing Editor Jan Cottingham's story this week on Custom Aircraft Cabinets of Sherwood. The story, part of our special issue on the state's manufacturing industry, takes a look inside the 25-year-old company, which employs 218 and reports annual revenue of $20 million to $30 million.
Now operating inside the 146,000-SF former National Home Centers building, the company makes high-end cabinetry and upholstery products for the private, corporate and head-of-state aircraft market throughout the world. Founders Mike Gueringer and Paul Reesnes hope to double their workforce as they grow their business.
In addition to reading Jan's story, you can check out the video above by Arkansas Business news partner THV 11 News. Reporter Ashley Blackstone goes inside the CAC manufacturing facility for a glimpse at how Gueringer and Reesnes are making their dream come alive.
TJ Johnston, executive vice president of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conway Development Corporation, is taking a new job at the University of Central Arkansas that will oversee UCA's Donaghey Corridor project, according to The Log Cabin Democrat.
University President Tom Courtway unveiled plans in November for the mixed-use development, which would feature retail and student housing, along Donaghey Avenue:
UCA is undertaking the planning and design process to create a mixed-use development along Donaghey Avenue between South Boulevard and Bruce Street. It is envisioned that the block will include ground-level retail and commercial ventures, and innovative student housing on upper floors. Among the aesthetic improvements would be medians and landscaping, in addition to traffic flow enhancements to Donaghey Avenue. Conversations with the City of Conway have begun.
UCA says Johnston will oversee all phases of planning and development of the project.
Preliminary steps toward architectural and engineering work are set to begin this summer, with a groundbreaking taking place in the fall. UCA is aiming for occupancy of the new center to begin in fall 2016.
The El Dorado Promise, which has marked its seventh anniversary this year, gets some good ink in American Way magazine, a publication of American Airlines and American Eagle. The article begins by noting how El Dorado High School has been purposefully designed to mimic a college:
“We tried to get as close to a college environment as we could,” says Bob Watson, the superintendent of the El Dorado School District. But what’s so intriguing about the deliberate college-oriented design of El Dorado High School is that it’s not strictly a way to reinforce the idea that the student body should strive for college. No, the high school in this economically challenged, rural Southern town of around 19,000 is designed the way it is because every single student who graduates knows he or she actually can go to college, and this is a way to get them ready.
You can read the full article, which includes a slideshow of photos inside the school, here.
You'll remember that the El Dorado Promise, announced in 2007 and funded by Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado, gives El Dorado Public Schools graduates the chance to earn college degrees tuition-free.
Last month, the program said there have been 1,444 Promise scholarship recipients to date.
- Six Walton Family Members Make Forbes Wealthiest List
- Previously Withheld Clinton Records Go Public Today
- Wal-Mart Buys Yumprint of Seattle
- Harry Scott, Former President of Thompson Industries of Russellville, Dies at 64 8 months ago
- Filing Period Highlights Arkansas Political Shift (Andrew DeMillo Analysis) 2 hours ago
- Underground Tunnels Challenge Hot Springs Engineers from Past to Present 4 weeks ago
- Commission Investigates Judge Mike Maggio's Web Postings 3 days ago
- Wal-Mart Used Technology to Become Supply Chain Leader 2 years ago