FORD CUTS BACK ON MAKING PICKUPS, SUVs: Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will further cut production of its pickups and large sport utility vehicles, which have seen sales plummet because of high gas prices and the slump in housing construction. The company, eager to hold on to its longtime lead in U.S. pickup sales, also is working on a smaller, more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling F-150 pickup that will likely hit the market in 2011, according to people who have been briefed on the company's plans. Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski confirmed that the Michigan truck plant in suburban Wayne would be shut down for five weeks starting in late June. The plant makes the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, large SUVs that have seen double-digit sales drops this year.
NETFLIX GETTING READY TO SHIFT TO STREAMING SERVICE: Preparing for the eventual extinction of its DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix Inc. on Tuesday introduced its first solution for subscribers who want entertainment delivered directly to their television sets with just a few clicks on a remote control. The breakthrough comes in the form of a 5-inch-by-5-inch device tailored for a year-old service that uses high-speed Internet connections to stream more than 10,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix's library. Although it's provided at no additional cost to most of Netflix's 8.2 million subscribers, the streaming service has had limited appeal because it doesn't include the latest movies and couldn't easily be watched on anything but a personal computer. At $99.99, the Netflix set-top box is priced like a DVD player and is just as simple to hook up to a television. Similar devices made by Apple Inc. and Vudu Inc. cost $229 to $295.
GOLD-TOPPED BURGER ONLY $175: A Manhattan restaurant is offering a hamburger that costs $175 and is topped with gold. It's made of Kobe beef. It comes with black truffles, foie gras and Gruyere cheese in addition to gold flakes. Wall Street Burger Shoppe co-owner Heather Tierney thinks of it as "a work of art." Tierney says it attracts Wall Street types who down a few beers and then fork over $175 to show off to their friends.
TARGET EARNINGS DOWN, SAKS' UP: Discount retailer Target Corp. reported Tuesday that first- quarter earnings fell 8 percent on weaker-than-expected sales, particularly of non-necessities such as lawn furniture. Meanwhile, Saks Inc., the operator of luxury chain Saks Fifth Avenue, posted a 66 percent profit compared with first-quarter results hobbled by onetime charges a year ago, but said that heavy discounting hurt profit margins.
HOUSING MARKET HURTING HOME DEPOT: The Home Depot Inc. reported a 66 percent drop in first-quarter profit Tuesday because of a large one-time charge and continued weakness in the housing market. The company did not update its guidance for the year. The results, excluding the charge, beat Wall Street expectations despite a decline in overall sales and sales at stores open at least a year.
BEE NEWS SERVICES
68: Percentage of women who cite "financial strain" as a major threat to the U.S. family, according to findings of a nationwide survey by Meredith Corp. and NBC Universal
48: Percentage who also cite "divorce" as a major threat
47: Percentage who also cite "loss of faith/spirituality"
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