tampabay.com

Ford's buyout offer may work too well

By TIMES WIRES
Published February 21, 2007


Detroit

Ford Motor Co.'s plan to reduce its white-collar work force has worked too well in one or two departments, with the company losing more people than it wanted, according to a person familiar with the situation. The company on Tuesday would not release the total number of people who took the early retirement or buyout offers because it said workers have until Feb. 26 to change their minds. Monday was the deadline for acceptance. Ford is seeking to reduce its white-collar employment by 10,000 this year, in addition to about 4,000 who left last year under similar offers. But in a department or two, some may be told they can't take buyouts because too many workers have decided to leave. Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said the company would not comment on specific departments. She said Ford has always told workers that early retirement offers were unconditional, but that it would limit the number taking buyouts if a particular department is hit too hard.

Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Kohl's to sell Chaps home merchandise

Kohl's Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. department store company, said it will add home merchandise under the Chaps brand, designed by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., after selling its clothes over the past few years. The new merchandise will arrive in stores in May, Kohl's said Tuesday. It will include five bedding collections, towels and bath rugs, it said. Kohl's has accelerated sales by adding merchandise that shoppers can buy only at its stores. It began selling Chaps women's apparel in 2006 and men's clothing in 2005. New York-based Polo is expanding by developing brands for individual department stores, including American Living for J.C. Penney Co., the third-largest chain.

Bradenton

Services firm buys Charlotte rival

Gevity, a company that provides human resources services to small and mid-sized businesses, said it has bought HRAmerica of Charlotte, N.C. The $10-million acquisition will give Gevity 75 more clients to add to its roster of 7,500. None of the 40 employees in Charlotte will be laid off, spokeswoman Anne-Marie Megela said. Gevity has about 1,000 employees across the country, half of them in Bradenton.

Clearwater

PODS progresses across continent

They first landed in Clearwater in 1998, but now the PODS people are overtaking most of North America. The purveyors of Portable On Demand Storage shipping containers have opened 15 new locations, in Charlotte, N.C., Montgomery, Ala., and a row of Canadian cities. That makes 113,000 containers in service in 53 states and Canadian provinces.

Washington

T-bill rates mixed

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in Tuesday's auction, with six-month bills falling and three-month bills rising to the highest level in more than six years. The Treasury Department auctioned $20- billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 5.035 percent, up from 5.025 percent last week. An additional $16-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.950 percent, down from 4.965 percent last week.