CHINA ON THE ROAD: China could join the World Trade Organization by the end of the year, Jeffrey Bader, U.S. trade representative for China, said Tuesday.
However, speaking after a House Trade Subcommittee hearing about U.S.-China trade, Bader hedged his forecast, adding “the timetable is really up to China.” China in nearing the end of an exhaustive process of changing its laws to meet WTO trade-liberalizing rules, as well as agreements negotiated with the U.S. and other members of the world trade body.
China’s WTO membership will mean easier going for foreign retailers operating there and insure that China receives lower U.S. tariffs on its imports of assorted goods, including apparel, footwear and accessories.
SCHOTTENSTEIN BID: Value City Department Stores Inc. has received a $275 million bid from Schottenstein Stores Corp. for the purchase of the retailer’s Filene’s Basement, Shonac Corp. and DSW Shoe Warehouse operations. Schottenstein owns 54 percent of Value City. George Kolber, chief executive officer of Value City, told WWD that the firm has retained Banc of America Securities as financial adviser to determine whether the offer is fair for shareholders and to solicit offers from third parties for a period of 60 days. The proceeds from any sale will be used to pay down Value City’s existing bank credit facility.
TIFFANY REVISION: Tiffany & Co. reported that the increasingly sluggish U.S. economy would cause second-quarter earnings to fall at the low end of analysts’ estimates, between 23 and 25 cents a share, versus 26 cents in the same period last year. Third-quarter profits are expected to be up 2 cents from their year-ago mark of 24 cents.
DOUBLECLICK’S DEFICIT DOUBLES: Online marketing agency DoubleClick Inc. said Tuesday its pro forma net loss for the second quarter ended June 30, before one-time, noncash charges, came to $9.5 million, or a loss of 7 cents a share — a penny less than Wall Street expected it to lose, but more than twice the $3.8 million, or 3 cents, it lost a year earlier. Jittery over the possibility of a protracted online ad slump, the market sent down DoubleClick’s shares 74 cents, or 5.8 percent, to close at $12.02 in Nasdaq trading Tuesday. At quarter’s end, DoubleClick had $814 million in cash, and long-term debt of $256 million.