November 3, 2011 in City



Sleep Country USA buys local stores

Kent, Wash.-based Sleep Country USA has acquired 14 Mattress Outlet stores, the two companies announced Wednesday.

The deal means Sleep Country, one of the largest bed retailers on the West Coast, now will have locations in Ellensburg, Spokane, Yakima, Wenatchee, Richland, Kennewick, Moses Lake, Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene.

Until now, the growing West Side chain has had no Spokane-area stores.

The owner of the Mattress Outlet stores is Ken Mullinax, of Spokane.

The move is a “strategic growth opportunity” to reach new markets, said Dale Carlsen, CEO of Sleep Country USA.

Tom Sowa

Deposits to 401(k) plans resuming

DES MOINES, Iowa – Few areas are spared when it comes to corporate belt tightening. During the economic downturn, employees felt the impact of cutbacks in hiring, raises, and even contributions to their 401(k) plans.

In new research released Wednesday, business consultant Towers Watson analyzed the action of 260 mid- to large-size companies. It shows that 75 percent of those that took the step to cut costs in their retirement plans have resumed making 401(k) contributions. Among those:

• About 74 percent are continuing payments at the previous level.

• About 23 percent resumed making contributions to their employees’ accounts, but at a lower rate. Among these companies, the new contribution level was slightly more than half of the original amount.

• Just 3 percent resumed making contributions at a higher rate; however, in all but one case the increase was associated with the company freezing or ending its pension plan. The higher amount was intended to make up for some of the lost pension plan benefits.

Associated Press

Apple to fix iPhone battery drain

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Apple Inc. confirmed Wednesday that devices running the new iOS 5 operating system are experiencing shorter battery life than the Cupertino, Calif., company reported and said it will release a software upgrade to fix the problem “in a few weeks.”

Apple released iOS 5 on Oct. 12, two days before the debut of its newest iPhone, the iPhone 4S. In the weeks since the device premiered, users have complained on Twitter and other social networks that the iPhone 4S runs out of power far sooner than expected and much more quickly than Apple promises. Some have been saying that even with minimal use the device can’t make it through a workday without needing to be recharged.

Apple says that iPhone 4S owners should get up to eight hours of talk time, up to six hours of time surfing the Web when connected to 3G networks and up to 200 hours of standby time. But some users said they are getting nowhere close to that.

San Jose Mercury News

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