NO GRAVY FOR TURKEY: The White House reconfirmed Thursday that it is no longer offering Turkey a multibillion dollar economic aid package, despite a vote by Turkey’s parliament to allow the U.S. to use its air space in the war against Iraq. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer reiterated at a news conference that Turkey will not receive the aid package, which included textile and apparel trade breaks, because it was contingent on “total cooperation,” which he said “did not happen.” The Bush administration made the package contingent on Turkey allowing the U.S. to deploy thousands of combat troops for a northern front in the war. However, Turkey denied the U.S. permission in a vote two weeks ago and indefinitely postponed another vote on the issue.
GALERIES NUMBERS: Achieving a target it set last year for double-digit profit growth, French retail group Galeries Lafayette on Thursday reported a 30.3 percent increase in net income to $88.9 million, up from $68.2 million last year. However, operating income declined 8.4 percent to $95.7 million, versus $104.4 million in 2001. Sales for the group increased 4.6 percent to $5.79 billion, compared with $5.53 billion last year. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates. Galeries Lafayette operates about 100 department stores under the Galeries Lafayette, Nouvelles Galeries and BHV banners, as well as the Monoprix grocery and variety chain. The company did not provide projections for 2003 due to the uncertainty of world affairs. “In the mid- and long-term, we remain very confident [in] the group’s fundamentals and its ability to create value,” said Philippe Houze and Philippe Lemoine, the firm’s co-chairmen.
HELP FOR KMART WORKERS: The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that bankrupt Kmart Corp. has requested help for its laid-off workers to find their way back into the workforce. As reported, Kmart plans to close more than 300 underperforming stores nationwide as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization, affecting an estimated 37,000 employees. The DOL said it provided Kmart with a variety of services and information about training assistance, pension benefits and unemployment insurance. Kmart workers were also referred to 1,900 career centers nationwide that assist employers with recruitment, training and retention of skilled workers, and job seekers. A video message outlining steps employees can take is also being broadcast to all Kmart stores nationwide.