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Mediha DiMartino

Stories by Mediha

Malls May Be Open, but Many Stores Are Still Shut

Nearly one-quarter of shops have yet to reopen

Almost a month after local shopping centers got a green light to reopen, about a quarter of their storefronts remain dark.

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Mattel Names Campbell Soup Veteran DiSilvestro as CFO

Hiring follows investigation into accounting practices

El Segundo-based toy maker Mattel Inc. has brought on two new executives for key positions.

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Yoshinoya Ramps Up Digital Platforms

Fast-casual chain upgrades app's ordering capabilities

With the Covid-19 pandemic settling in for an extended run in much of the country, the phrase “adapt or perish” seems to be the mantra for many retailers and restauranteurs.

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AR Startup Vertebrae Rides Ecommerce Wave

Company’s tech sees increased use amid lockdowns

The quarantine that has fast-tracked ecommerce — it’s expected to increase 18% to $709 billion this year and represent 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales, according to industry researcher eMarketer Inc. — has also been a boon for augmented reality software developers focused on retail.

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Heavy Duties

Gene Seroka guides the Port of LA — and the city’s PPE supply efforts

Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, picked up additional duties in March when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named him the city’s chief logistics officer.

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20 in Their 20s: Ryan Chan

"I started UpKeep out of passion and frustration by the lack of mobility in today’s maintenance management software."

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20 in Their 20s: Misha Euceph

"The pandemic has forced me and my team to come up with far more creative solutions ... (and) to build resilience into the infrastructure of my business."

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Hightimes Strikes Series of Deals

Cannabis company expands with acquisitions, licensing

Venice-based Hightimes Holding Corp. has been busy of late, expanding its dispensary footprint and venturing into licensing with two deals.

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Long Beach Gains as LA Struggles

San Pedro Bay ports report mixed results in May amid ongoing pandemic

If you ask folks at the Port of Long Beach, things are looking up. The Port of Los Angeles, meanwhile, reported a 29.8% year-over-year decrease.

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Career Technologies Is Acquired

Competitor Fralock picks up electronic components maker

Electronic components manufacturer Circuit Services, which does business as Career Technologies USA, has been acquired by a local competitor.

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Guess Market Value Tumbles After Miss

Retailer says difficulties will continue in second quarter

Shares of Guess Inc. dropped 30% to a market value of $584.4 million last week after the downtown-based retailer reported a decline of more than 50% in sales revenue for the first three months of the year.

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20 in Their 20s: Joel Joseph and Kaushal Saraf

"We were able to work with partners using our technology to get thousands of 3D-printed face shields produced locally and distributed to hospitals at no cost nationwide."

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Local Bankruptcies Follow US Trends

More companies are filing Chapter 11, but the CARES Act helps others

True Religion Apparel Inc., the Manhattan Beach-based retailer that’s expected to reemerge from bankruptcy in August, is part of a growing wave of Chapter 11 filings hitting U.S. courtrooms.

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True Religion to Exit Bankruptcy

But unsecured creditors object to plan

True Religion Apparel Inc. estimates it will emerge from bankruptcy by mid-August, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

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Store Owners Are Challenged

Pandemic, unrest tests their optimistic outlook

Marred by tepid consumer interest, countywide protests, curfews and looting, the retail reopening after the Covid-19 shutdown had a rough start to say the least.

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Brands Join in on the Conversation

Amgen, Mattel, Anastasia among companies embracing social justice

As protesters took to the streets across the U.S. recently to express their anger over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, a growing number of local brands chose to take part in the social justice conversation.

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Big 5 Reports Sales Slump

Company sees 11% decline during first quarter

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. delivered the results it had expected for the first quarter despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the temporary closure of about half of its stores.

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USDA Gives Lift to Don Lee Farms

Agency's food program connects suppliers, needy

Goodman Food Products Inc., doing business as Don Lee Farms, is among a handful of Los Angeles County firms that won contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food boxes to nonprofits serving the needy.

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Faraday Bankruptcy Plan Approved

Court ruling clears path for production of vehicles

Faraday & Future Inc.’s founder and former chief executive caught a break from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

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Settlement for Honda

Carmaker to pay state $2 Million over engine emissions

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. reached a $1.9 million settlement with the California Air Resources Board for clean-air violations related to small engines used to power lawnmowers and other garden equipment.

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A ‘Better Than Expected’ April for Ports of LA, LB

But lower volumes are projected in second quarter

Terminal operators and dockworkers at the Port of Long Beach moved 519,730 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo last month, a 17.3% decline compared to April 2019.

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Mattel Expects Tough Times Will Continue

‘Retail disruptions’ likely to hit second-quarter results

Mattel Inc. executives did not provide revenue guidance during a recent call with analysts, but their evident sentiment can be summed up as “it will get worse before it gets better.”

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Alameda Pipe Is Acquired by JD Fields

Gardena steel products maker will retain name

Gardena-based Alameda Pipe & Steel Co. has a new owner.

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OSI Systems Sees Gains for 2020

Positive outlook for medical monitoring device maker

While most local manufacturers are refraining from providing revenue guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hawthorne-based OSI Systems Inc. is pleased with the outlook for 2020.

Life in the Slow Lane

Manufacturers like Honda are grappling with ways to move forward

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. this week reopened its 12 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada after a six-week shutdown that prompted the Torrance-based automaker to furlough some 14,000 factory workers.

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Anxious Times for Restaurants

Owners are on edge as they await the new normal

Some 30,000 restaurants and bars in Los Angeles County have had to figure out how to stay afloat during pandemic-induced restrictions on social gatherings.

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Macerich Taps Credit Line for $550 Million

Mall operator also cuts dividend and capital expenses

Macerich Co., coping with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, recently borrowed $550 million on its revolving line of credit.

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Revenues Give Boost to Skechers

Footwear manufacturer sees strong rebound in market cap

Shares of Skechers USA Inc. rose about 25% after the footwear and apparel manufacturer reported first-quarter sales that were 2.7% below results for the same period a year earlier.

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Mochi Brand Tries Single Servings

Ice cream-maker touts safety benefits of new packaging

Mochi Ice Cream Co. is adjusting its product line to accommodate coronavirus-induced social norms.

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Guess Enacts Severe Cuts

Retailer rolls out staff furloughs, store closures

Guess Inc. is implementing several measures to help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Closings, Layoffs Mounting in LA

Filings by manufacturers show a sharp increase

The state Employment Development Department has processed more than 1,240 notices announcing temporary layoffs and closures since February.

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Trader Joe’s Boosts Worker Safety

Grocer expands cleaning efforts, offers bonuses

Measures implemented by Trader Joe's last week include temporary closure of seven stores where crew members have tested positive for Covid-19, including locations in West Los Angeles, Encino and South Pasadena.

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LA Car Dealers Get Green Light

City clarifies, OKs resumption of online car sales

Confusion about the intent of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s revised Safer at Home order prompted some 70 auto dealers with Los Angeles addresses to cease all sales for weeks while other retailers pivoted to ecommerce.

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True Religion Files for Bankruptcy

Manhattan Beach-based clothing retailer True Religion Apparel Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on April 13 for the second time in less than three years.

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Ports See Significant Traffic Decline

March cargo volume plunges 31% at Port of LA, dips 6% at Long Beach

Cargo volume at both local ports was down as expected in March, but the Port of Los Angeles experienced a more severe dip in traffic.

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Brands Churn Out Masks

Toy, garment makers pitch in

Last month’s shutdown of all nonessential retail businesses has halted or slowed operations at manufacturing plants across Los Angeles County, so they're reconfiguring their production to make protective equipment that’s currently in short supply.

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Venues Top List of Virus-Fueled Layoffs

Arenas, stadiums and casino among businesses hit hard by furloughs

The first wave of furloughs reported to the state’s Employment Development Department includes 9,591 workers from 36 companies in Los Angeles County.

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Pain at the Pump for Gas Stations

Plunging demand hurts United Pacific, others

The stay-at-home orders imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic have cut demand in half at local gas stations, even as the average price for a gallon in Los Angeles County dips to $3.32.

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Hearthy Offers Healthy Fare

Alternative flour maker sees gains in market

The recent shortage of all-purpose flour has forced some consumers to reach for Hearthy Foods’ non-grain options.

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LA Enlists Port Chief

Garcetti enlists Seroka to join Covid-19 battle

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka picked up additional duties last week when he was named the city’s new logistics officer by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Mattel Launches Website to Help Kids During Covid-19 Quarantine

El Segundo-based toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. rolled out a website with free games, activities and content to help children who are staying home during the pandemic.

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Jacmar Bulks Up for Retail

Restaurant supplier reaches out to consumers

Opening Jacmar’s warehouse to the public for curbside pickup is one of the ways President and CFO Jim Hliboki is trying to keep his company afloat during the pandemic.

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Workers Keep Ports Active

Cargo flow continues amid precautions at LA, LB

While most businesses nationwide are temporarily closing or asking employees to work from home, thousands of workers in San Pedro Bay continue transferring containers off and on cargo ships.

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Guess Among Brands Hurt by Virus

Denim-maker’s market cap has plunged 50% since start of pandemic

Guess and other Los Angeles-area retailers are absorbing heavy blows and scrambling to adjust as a result of the pandemic.

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American Honda Posts Sales Gains

But February increase still lags competitors

New-vehicle sales at American Honda Motor Co. Inc. totaled 120,006 cars and light trucks in February, a 4.2% increase compared to the same period last year.

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Lakin Tire Is Acquired

Pittsburgh-based company buys rubber recycling firm

Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Recycling has acquired Lakin Tire, based in Santa Fe Springs.

Ports Agree to Cooperate

LA, Long Beach seek efficiency and security

Threatened by a common adversary, the ports of L.A. and Long Beach have vowed to collaborate on several operational initiatives to preserve San Pedro Bay’s competitive edge.

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Defense Firm Is Acquired

Kellstrom joins Aero Precision

El Segundo-based Kellstrom Defense Aerospace Inc. has been sold to a Northern California-based competitor but will keep its ties to Los Angeles County.

Dray Alliance Secures $10 Million in Funding

Company brings a digital focus to last-mile category

Dray Alliance Inc., a digital marketplace for last-mile cargo transportation, raised $10.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners in San Francisco.

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Joe Coulombe Leaves Grocery Legacy

Trader Joe’s founder made his mark on the industry, shoppers

Trader Joe’s Co. founder Joe Coulombe, who died Feb. 28 at age 89, had eye for winning products and a passion for customer service that set the company he founded apart from other grocery chains.

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