CONSOLIDATING COSTS: Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., whose divisions include Fairchild Publications, Conde Nast Publications, the Golf Digest Cos., Ideas Publishing Group, the Conde Nast Bridal Division, Parade Publications and CondeNet, will establish a shared services center in Wilmington, Del. The center will provide support for three of AMPI’s corporate services departments: Accounting and Finance, Human Resources and Information Services and Technology. The center is expected to become fully operational in the first quarter of 2003. A Conde Nast spokeswoman declined comment on how many New York employees would be affected by the center opening in Delaware. “We are setting up a new division where staff will be required for that division. We have not made any decision on the overall scope of personnel,” she said. In welcoming AMPI to Delaware, Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker, said the center will create more than 250 jobs when it becomes fully operational in early 2003, and that number is expected to double within the next few years. The new shared services center will occupy approximately 100,000 square feet of the Hercules building on 1313 Market Street in Wilmington.

LABOR AIDS WORKERS: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced Tuesday that the agency will award a National Emergency Grant of more than $1.45 million to aid more than 1,426 workers laid off from 175 separate companies in the textile, furniture and product manufacturing industries of the Southern Piedmont region of North Carolina.

MORTGAGE MONEY: In an effort to manage its balance sheet, ShopKo Stores Inc. secured $50 million in private placement mortgage financing. “This transaction funds the retirement of five lease liabilities associated with closed stores, provides additional liquidity and adds a layer of longer-term debt to the capital structure,” said Brian Bender, senior vice president and chief financial officer, in a statement. The additional financing carries a term of 10 years and will be secured by 13 ShopKo stores and one distribution center. Once the lease terminations are funded, the remaining funds will be applied to debt outstanding under the firm’s senior secured revolving credit facility.

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