In brief: Airbus maker posts hefty earnings gain
PARIS – Airbus parent company EADS said strong demand for its commercial aircraft helped its third-quarter profit increase by a hefty 45 percent.
But the European jet maker and chief competitor of Boeing warned Thursday that its free cash flow, a measure of cash generated by a business, would be negative $2 billion this year because of its investment program into lifting production and development of programs such as the A350 long-range wide body, which is supposed to enter service in the second half of next year.
Previously, the company had said its free cash flow would break even this year, compared to positive $2 billion last year.
Nordstrom income falls but still beats forecasts
SEATTLE – Luxury retailer Nordstrom’s third-quarter net income fell almost 7 percent as an anniversary sale that usually boosts sales was held earlier in the year.
But the results Thursday beat expectations and the company raised the lower end of its full-year earnings guidance.
The news comes as retailers prepare for the all-important holiday season, which can account for up to 40 percent of annual sales. So far, retailers’ outlooks for the season have been mixed. Kohl’s Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. both lowered their forecast for the season, but Macy’s Inc. gave a bullish view on the holidays.
McDonald’s testing third drive-thru window
NEW YORK – McDonald’s has an idea for speeding up service at the drive-thru: add another window.
Under the current setup, customers place their orders, then drive up to a window where they pick up their food. The fast-food chain says it’s testing a “Fast Forward Drive-Thru” that lets customers drive to a third stop if their orders aren’t ready.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said the Fast Forward Drive-Thru will be featured in new and renovated restaurants starting next year.
The drive-thru is an important revenue generator for fast-food chains. McDonald’s gets about 70 percent of its sales from the drive-thru, according Richard Adams, who now runs a consulting firm for franchisees.
H.J. Heinz closing plant in Pocatello
H.J. Heinz Co. is closing three plants in North America, including one in Idaho, and cutting 1,350 jobs in an effort to operate more efficiently.
The food maker said Thursday that it will close facilities in two states and Canada over the next six to eight months. The cuts total 410 jobs in Pocatello; 200 jobs in Florence, S.C.; and 740 employees in Leamington, Ontario.
Heinz will shift production from these locations to other existing facilities in the U.S. and Canada.
Lockheed Martin announces layoffs
BETHESDA, Md. – Lockheed Martin is cutting 4,000 jobs, about 3.5 percent of its workforce, as the defense contractor continues to look for ways to lower costs amid reduced government spending.
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. said Thursday that it will close plants in Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as four buildings in a California campus, by mid-2015, eliminating 2,000 jobs.
Another 2,000 positions will be cut in its information systems and global solutions, mission system and training and space systems units by 2014’s end.
Lockheed Martin said it has cut its workforce to 116,000 employees from 146,000 since 2008.