Business in brief: Blockbuster store on Grand to close
Blockbuster Video has announced it will close the company’s movie rental store at 1318 S. Grand Blvd. on Spokane’s South Hill.
Company spokesman Randy Hargrove said the decision followed a normal company review of store performance.
“One other factor is that the (Grand) store is just two miles away from another of our stores,” Hargrove said. The Blockbuster near Lincoln Heights will remain open, he said.
Employees at the Grand store will be able to transfer to other Blockbuster locations.
The store’s final day will be July 12, Hargrove said. The last day movies can be rented is July 5.
The Dallas-based entertainment company has five other Spokane locations and one in SpokaneValley.
Pension agency’s ex-director mum
The former director of the government’s pension agency invoked the Fifth Amendment on Wednesday when senators probed allegations that he had improper contacts with Wall Street firms while running the operation, which insures the pensions of one in seven Americans.
Charles E.F. Millard has previously denied that he was party to inappropriate phone calls and e-mails with firms that recently won multimillion-dollar contracts to advise the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. on a new strategy to invest its assets more heavily in stocks, real estate and private equity rather than more conservative securities. Six senior members of the Senate, however, have asked the Justice Department for an independent review.
Chrysler sales topping predictions
Chrysler LLC’s Chapter 11 filing so far doesn’t appear to be affecting May sales, a top executive said Wednesday.
Early sales data shows Chrysler is on pace to sell 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles to individuals this month, better than expected considering its April 30 bankruptcy filing, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing Steven Landry said Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, Chrysler announced that former Borden Chemical and Duracell Chairman C. Robert Kidder will become chairman of the new company once it acquires old Chrysler’s assets and joins with Fiat. Kidder will succeed Robert Nardelli, who will step down when Chrysler emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Mexico’s economy declines sharply
Mexico’s economy shrank 8.2 percent in the first quarter, even before accounting for the impact of the swine flu, and appears headed for its biggest contraction since the Tequila Crisis stalled growth in 1995.
The decline was led by a 13.8 percent plunge in manufacturing activity, followed by a 7.7 percent drop in construction, compared to the same quarter of 2008, the national statistics agency announced Wednesday.
Mexico’s manufacturing sector, which accounts for about a quarter of gross domestic product and four-fifths of exports, was especially hard-hit because of its close links to the U.S.