The Journal Record Business Briefs: May 20, 2011

Article excerpt

More stores commit to Outlet Shoppes

Fourteen additional retailers plan to open stores at the Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, scheduled to open Aug. 5.

The stores include BCBGMAXAZRIA, Bella Pizza, City Bites, Clarks/ Bostonian, Disney Store Outlet, DKNY, Jos. A. Bank, Justice, Le Creuset, Michael Kors, Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Soma and Yankee Candle.

The 14 newly announced stores join 65 other retailers planning to have stores at the outlet mall. Other retailers earlier announcing plans to have stores at the new 65-acre center at Interstate 40 and Council Road include Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Coach, Chico's, Banana Republic, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Levi's and Carters.

Horizon Group Properties, based in Muskegon, Mich., began construction on the 348,000-square-foot outlet center began in June 2010. The site has land available to construct an additional 60,000 square feet of retail space.

State unemployment rate drops

Oklahoma's unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent in April from 6.1 percent in March and 7.2 percent in April 2010, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

Nevada reported the biggest monthly drop in unemployment among all states in April. New Mexico and Oklahoma reported the next- biggest monthly decreases.

In April, 97,000 members of Oklahoma's labor force were listed as unemployed, down from 106,010 in March and 125,970 in April 2010.

The state's total nonfarm employment for April totaled 1,552,900, up 11,600 from March and 26,400 from a year earlier.

Manufacturing employment in April totaled 131,100, up 1,500 from March and 8,700 from April 2010.

Port of Catoosa shipments decline

Reduced demand and lower prices for some outgoing commodities reduced waterway shipping at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa in April.

Slower demand for American soybeans was the primary reason for a decline in outbound shipping.

"Demand for U.S. soybeans is lower because of more favorable pricing for that commodity in South America," said John Goetting, manager of the grain facilities for DeBruce Grain at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. He said this fluctuation between demand for North American and South American soybeans is normal and occurs every year.

Goetting said shipments of wheat were also lower because of the drought in wheat-producing states. Grain elevators are reluctant to ship existing stock because they will have very little new crop to replace it with, prompting warehouses to hold on to their remaining stock - for now.

Inbound shipping was also slightly lower in April.

Total April shipping at the Port of Catoosa was 135,934 tons delivered on 87 barges. …