Biz briefs

Starbucks announces cuts, closing stores


NEW YORK — Starbucks Corp. plans to slash nearly 7,000 more jobs during a new round of store closures and other cuts, the company said as it reported Wednesday that its profit dropped by more than two-thirds in its fiscal first quarter.

The gourmet coffee chain plans to close 300 underperforming stores around the world - including 200 in the U.S. - by the end of the fiscal year in addition to the 600 U.S. stores it began closing this summer.

The new store closures could result in the loss of 6,000 jobs, but the company said it will try to offer employees transfers to other nearby locations.

Starbucks also plans to lay off about 700 non-store employees and has reduced the number of new stores it plans to open.

The cuts and changes will result in about $500 million in savings in fiscal 2009, the company said.

Boeing's layoffs total 10,000 in latest round

PITTSBURGH — Facing weaker air traffic and pressure on military budgets, Boeing Co. announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs after reporting a surprise fourth-quarter loss Wednesday.

"The global economy continues to weaken and is adversely affecting air traffic growth and financing," Jim McNerney, Boeing's chairman, president and chief executive, said in a conference call. "We are also expecting pressure on defense budgets in light of the economic recovery and financial rescue packages put forth by various governments."

The Chicago-based company's job cuts include plans announced earlier this month to eliminate 4,500 positions from its Seattle-based commercial jet business. Mr. McNerney said Wednesday an additional 5,500 positions would be slashed in other parts of the company, including its defense division, which accounts for roughly half Boeing's revenue.

Boeing reported a fourth-quarter loss of $56 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with profit of $1.03 billion, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier. Results were dragged down by charges totaling $1.79 per share, including the effects of an autumn labor strike and delayed deliveries of new 747 jets.

Around Town

Augusta airport reports increase in passengers

Augusta Regional Airport officials released figures Wednesday that show the facility has managed to increase the number of passengers for 24 straight months.

Diane Johnston, marketing director for the airport, said in an e-mail, that the growth continues even during the worldwide economic downturn.

"In spite of the challenging environment that has troubled the airline industry, the airport has seen a double digit percent increase over the last two years," Ms. Johnston said.

The airport, which had been plagued with problems ranging from late flights to cancellations in recent years, had a 13.6 percent increase in enplanements, or originating passengers, in 2007. It also increased by 12.5 percent in 2008, she said.

Reliability for both Atlantic Southeast Airlines and US Airways also improved slightly in 2008 compared with the previous year.