Originally created 09/08/02

Pocket change



EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT

DEPOT FOOD STORES

OWNER: The Pantry Inc. of Sanford, N.C.

PRODUCT: Gas, convenience store items

LOCATION: 26 stores in Augusta-Aiken area

LOCAL EMPLOYEES: Undisclosed. The Pantry employs 8,100 people and owns 1,300 convenience stores nationwide.

2001 SALES: $2.6 billion

HISTORY: The Pantry was founded in 1967. It has grown through acquisition throughout the years and it currently operates 20 store brands, including The Pantry, Handy Way, Big K, Quick Stop and Kangaroo. The company acquired the 53-store Depot chain from Aiken-based R&H Maxxon in 1999 for an estimated $60 million. About half of the Depot stores are in the Augusta-Aiken area.

RECENT NEWS: Last month the Pantry said it inadvertently overstated its accounts payable in the March and December quarters by $8 million in each quarter. The company's stock hit a 52-week low on Aug. 20, finishing trading at $2.01 per share.

NOTE TO READERS

Records move

to Today's Home

Richmond County real estate records have been moved from the Inside Business section to Today's Home. The move allows The Augusta Chronicle to publish a larger number of property transfers each week, the result of which will be more current real estate information.

BIZ BITES

Profitable partings

Chief executive Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco and star analyst Jack Grubman of Salomon Smith Barney may have raised eyebrows with their $30 million severance packages. But such lucrative partings are common for CEOs and other business bigwigs.

Lee Hecht Harrison, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J., career services firm, finds in a new survey of publicly available CEO employment agreements that most CEOs who are shown the door can typically expect two years' worth of salary, as well as continued health and dental insurance and even some bonuses.

Thirty-six percent of the Fortune 500 companies surveyed offered up to three years of salary to their departing CEOs, while 26 percent would pay two years' worth of salary.

Stressing out

Employment experts say work-related stress typically falls into four broad categories:

  • Major changes in duties, including starting or ending a job.
  • Working conditions, such as having frequent troubles with a boss or co-worker, feeling overloaded or having a tough commute.
  • Having too many errands and too little time, or not having enough time for loved ones or for sleep.
  • Money problems associated with jobs, such as feeling underpaid or having stock options or 401(k) plans collapse.
  • Pay more, get less

    Employees are shelling out more for their health insurance even though their benefits are shrinking as employers struggle with family premiums that jumped 12.7 percent over the past year. It was the second straight period of double-digit growth and the highest increase in 12 years, a new survey said.

    The combination of rising premiums and a weakening economy drove fewer companies to offer any benefits at all. Sixty-two percent of firms offered benefits from the spring of 2001 to the spring of 2002, down from 65 percent a year earlier, according to a survey of 2,014 companies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust.

    "The cost that people are paying for health insurance is rising sharply again," said Drew Altman, president and chief executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Pension misuse

    Here are 10 warning signs that your pension contributions are being misused:

  • Your 401(k) or individual account statement is consistently late or comes at irregular intervals.
  • Account balance appears to be inaccurate.
  • Employer does not transmit your contribution to the plan on a timely basis.
  • Significant drop in account balance that cannot be explained by normal market ups and downs.
  • 401(k) or individual account statement shows your contribution from your paycheck was not made.
  • Investments listed on statement are not what you authorized.
  • Former employees have trouble getting benefits paid on time or in the correct amounts.
  • Unusual transactions, such as a loan to the employer, a corporate officer, or a plan trustee.
  • Frequent and unexplained changes in investment managers or consultants.
  • Employer has recently experienced severe financial difficulty.
  • Functions unused

    A survey of 803 people by St. Louis-based Maritz Poll, found that 47 percent of adult American wireless phone users don't know how to use all the functions on their phone. Half, or 50 percent, said they don't use all the minutes on their monthly plan that they pay for, either.

    "It's a reflection of American culture," said Paul Pacholski, of Maritz's Telecom Research Group. "We're a fast-paced society and people apparently don't want to take the time to explore and learn about the many features available with their plan."

    Age was found to be a strong indicator of a person's knowledge of mobile phone features. Eighty-five percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 knew how to use their mobile phone's features, compared to 71 percent of those between the ages of 25 and 34. From 35-44 it was just 50 percent, and only 45 percent of people 45-years-old and up knew.

    REACH US

    Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or dcline@augustachronicle.com.