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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Housing market strong in February

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Spokane County’s hot housing market continued its strong pace in February with 82 more homes changing hands than in January, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors.

Some 398 homes were sold in February and 73 of them, or 19 percent, were new construction. The association attributed that in part to the low inventory, which is hovering around 1,300, an all-time low.

Sales were up almost 11 percent in February compared with the same month last year, when 359 homes were sold. This February’s median price of $127,730 is an 8.7 percent increase over last year.

On a year-to-date basis, sales are up 13.5 percent over last year and the median sales price is up 9.9 percent.

The total sales volume for February was $58.8 million, up 25 percent from $47 million last February.

Coldwater Creek income soars

Coldwater Creek’s income rose 137 percent last year, following a period of rapid growth.

The Sandpoint-based retailer opened 48 new women’s apparel stores last year. The company reported net income of $29.1 million, or 48 cents per share, in fiscal 2004, compared with income of $12.3 million, or 22 cents per share, the previous fiscal year.

Net sales were $590 million, a gain of nearly 14 percent. Coldwater Creek’s fiscal year ended on Jan. 29.

For the fourth quarter, Coldwater Creek reported $11.4 million in income, compared with $6.4 million in income for the fourth quarter of 2003.

In other news, company officials said they would restate earnings back to 2003 because of accounting changes in how rent is calculated. Cumulatively, the change is expected to reduce net income by about $2.1 million through the third quarter of fiscal 2004.

Coldwater Creek will now record rent expense when it takes possession of a store, which typically occurs 60 to 90 days before the store’s opening.

Report: Bidder seeks Toys R Us

Shares of Toys R Us Inc., which has been planning to divide its struggling toy business from its burgeoning Babies R Us segment, rose more than 2 percent Wednesday as a published report said a bidder has emerged willing to buy the entire company.

The New York Post did not identify the name of the bidder or the amount being offered but reported Wednesday that the offer has disrupted bidding for the toy division of the nation’s second biggest toy retailer. It cited unidentified sources for the report.

Toys R Us stock rose 49 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $23.09 in afternoon trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, approaching its 52-week high of $23.23.

The stock price has wandered upward since August, when the Wayne-based company announced it wanted to separate the toys and babies units. It has given no substantive guidance since, aside from reiterating that an evaluation on restructuring would be completed by July.

Toys R Us spokeswoman Susan McLaughlin said Wednesday that the company would not comment on the Post report.

According to the newspaper and other publications, four groups are finalists in the bidding: buyout specialists Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; a partnership of Apollo Advisors LP and Permira Advisors Ltd.; an alliance between Bain Capital LLC and Vornado Realty Trust; and a group that includes Cerberus Capital Management LP, Kimco Realty Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

At least three have been told that their offers are too low, The Post said.

Representatives for the finalists have either declined to comment or not responded to requests for comment.

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