Review
August 13 - 19

Gas Update: Despite oil prices hitting $48 a barrel, the price of gasoline continued to fall. For the week ended Aug. 16, the price of a gallon of self-serve regular in the Los Angeles area was $2.051, down from $2.092 a week earlier. Statewide, the average price was $2.055, down from $2.092. Analysts doubted that the declines would last much longer, given the jump in oil last week.



Westwood Vote: The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to a $100 million mixed-use development in Westwood Village. To be built by Alan Casden, the Palazzo Westwood project will include 350 apartments and about 50,000 square feet of retail. It is expected to take 2 & #733; years to complete. The council vote ends years of squabbling between developers and homeowners groups on what to do with the Glendon Boulevard property.



Rack Approval: City Council also voted to approve the language of a proposed ordinance that would regulated the spacing and color of news racks. The ordinance is expected to be approved by the end of the year. A coalition of newspaper companies has threatened a lawsuit over the requirement that all racks be a uniform ivy green.



Jobless Numbers: Los Angeles County's unemployment rate remained unchanged in July at 6.9 percent, but a separate payroll survey showed a loss of 17,300 positions in California the first decline since February. Nationwide, there were only a small number of new jobs and analysts have begun expressing concerns about the economy's health.



Northrop Win: Northrop Grumman Corp. received a $1.04 billion award to develop an unmanned bomber. Under a five-year contract, Los Angeles-based Northrop will design three of the planes whose missions would include attacking enemy air defenses. Flight demonstrations will begin in 2007.



Home Slide: L.A. County housing prices cooled off in July, with a median-priced home at $406,000, a 23.8 percent jump from the like period a year earlier but down 2 percent from June's $414,000. Real estate brokers report that listed properties are staying on the market longer than they were earlier this year, although activity remains strong: July was the 13th straight month that the median price in Los Angeles County was up at least 20 percent year-over-year.



Mexican Sale: Tarrant Apparel Group agreed to sell almost all its property and manufacturing assets in Mexico for about $6.6 million. The buyer, Tarrant shareholder Kamel Nacif, will pay either 4.72 million shares of Tarrant common stock or the cash proceeds from its sale, and $40.2 million in secured promissory notes for mills and equipment. L.A.-based Tarrant provides casual clothing to retailers.



Earnings Results: Arden Group Inc. reported second-quarter net income of $5.8 million, compared with $3.3 million for the like period a year earlier. Revenue for the Compton-based parent of Gelson's Markets was $120.7 million, up from $101.2 million. Hot Topic Inc. reported second-quarter net income of $4.6 million, compared with $5.3 million for the like period a year earlier. Revenue for the City of Industry-based retailer rose 18 percent, to $136.3 million.



Oxford Sale: JB Oxford Holdings Inc., which is under investigation as part of the wide-reaching mutual fund trading scandal, said it was seeking a buyer for its clearing and discount brokerage units. Earlier this summer, the Beverly Hills-based firm said it was selling its retail discount brokerage operation. The company has been named in a civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.



Showbiz Breakup: Caryn Mandabach is leaving TV production studio Carsey-Werner-Mandabach after 20 years with the company to start her own production business. Earlier this year, the company had put itself on the block but two weeks later announced that it was no longer for sale.

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