Dollars & Sense

Macy's lops the top as it consolidates

Macy's Inc. said Wednes- day that it will cut about 2,300 management jobs as the department store operator consolidates three regional divisions and decentralizes buying in a bid to reduce costs and boost sales. The announcement came as Macy's announced separately that it had a steeper drop than expected in sales in January at established stores and that earnings in its fiscal year would be below Wall Street estimates. Macy's said it immediately will begin consolidating its Minneapolis- based Macy's North headquarters into its New York-based Macy's East, its St. Louis-based Macy's Midwest organization into its Atlanta-based Macy's South, and its Seattle-based Macy's Northwest headquarters into its San Francisco-based Macy's West. The consolidation of the office organizations is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Worker productivity down in last quarter

Worker productivity, the key factor in rising living standards, slowed sharply in the final three months of the year as overall economic activity weakened considerably while labor pressures increased. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the October-December quarter, down from a 6 percent performance in the July-September period. The slowdown reflected the fact that overall economic activity skidded to a near standstill in the final three months of the year.

Home builder logs seventh-straight dip

More than a year ago, the chief executive of luxury- home builder Toll Bros. Inc. thought the housing slump could be touching close to the bottom. These days, the normally chipper Robert Toll is much grimmer. Wednesday, Toll Bros. said home building revenue fell by 22 percent in the first quarter, its seventh consecutive quarterly decline.

Learn to Excel

Accountants everywhere know of Microsoft Excel, but they may not know everything the spreadsheet program can do. Learning those tips and tricks will be the subject of this month's meeting of the Central California Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, at 6:30 p.m. in Modesto. LuAnn Klann, a certified management accountant, will make a presentation on how to get smarter and faster with Excel. Dinner is at 7 p.m. for the meeting, which is at Appetez Restaurant, 825 W. Roseburg Ave. For reservations, call 481-6329.