February 21, 2014 in Business

Business briefs: Spokane tourism board names chair

From staff and wire reports
 

Visit Spokane President Cheryl Kilday has been named chairwoman of the Washington Tourism Alliance board of directors.

The alliance is an industry group promoting tourism in Washington. It was created following the shuttering of the state tourism department in 2011.

In 2010, Kilday became CEO of Visit Spokane, previously called the Spokane Convention & Visitors Bureau. It provides marketing and promotions to increase tourism to Spokane.

Visit Spokane is one of more than 400 statewide WTA members whose membership fees provide the basis for the alliance’s budget.

Japan trade deficit soars

TOKYO – Japan’s trade deficit surged to a monthly record of 2.8 trillion yen ($27.4 billion) in January as imports jumped 25 percent.

A weakening in the Japanese yen has failed to push exports up as much as hoped while imports of costlier oil and gas, food and other products have surged. Consumers and businesses are thought to be stepping up purchases ahead of an April 1 sales tax hike.

The Finance Ministry reported Thursday that exports rose 9.5 percent from a year earlier to 5.25 trillion yen ($51.5 billion) while imports were 8.04 trillion yen ($78.8 billion).

The previous record monthly deficit was 1.63 trillion yen, in January 2013.

Japan’s deficit with China also surged, to a record 1.04 trillion yen ($10.2 billion).

Chef eyes national award

Chris Ainsworth, owner and chef of the Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen in Walla Walla, has racked his sixth nomination as a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award.

Ainsworth was listed among the 20 semifinalists for Best Chef: Northwest in an announcement from the foundation on Wednesday.

He is the only one from Eastern Washington to make the cut.

For chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine writers and more, the Beard awards are known as the “Oscars of the food world.”

Finalists will be announced March 19. The 2014 James Beard Awards will be in early May in New York City.

Ainsworth and his wife, Island Ainsworth, run Saffron as well as neighboring Pho Sho in Walla Walla.

Teething toys recalled

Toy maker Infantino is recalling 191,000 teething toys sold exclusively at Target because a child could potentially choke on one of its parts.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that consumers should stop using the Go Gaga Squeeze & Teethe CoCo the Monkey toys. The toy is made of soft orange rubber, is shaped like a monkey and squeaks.

Infantino has received seven reports of infants choking or gagging on the monkey’s tail. No injuries have been reported.

The toys were sold at Target stores from late 2012 through early this year for about $13.

For more information call (888) 808-3111.

Nordstrom 4Q profit drops

SEATTLE – Nordstrom’s markdowns during the holiday shopping season and costs to grow its Nordstrom Rack chain weighed on its profit during its holiday quarter.

For the three months through Feb. 1, net income slipped nearly 6 percent, to $268 million, or $1.37 per share, from $284 million, or $1.40 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter the year before. Its revenue rose less than 1 percent, to $3.71 billion.

Nordstrom’s profit exceeded market forecasts of $1.34 per share, but revenue fell short of the $3.73 billion analysts polled by FactSet anticipated.

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