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Home Depot earnings up

ATLANTA >> Home Depot Inc. said yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 12 percent as operating expenses fell faster than sales. Net income grew to $812 million from $725 million a year earlier. Revenue dipped 0.2 percent to $16.82 billion. The chain said it is beefing up offerings such as paint and soft-sided tool storage as maintenance and repair remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Japan Air to restore Narita-Oahu flight

Japan Airlines plans to return to its regular schedule of six daily flights between Honolulu and Japan beginning Monday.

The carrier, which had reduced its Narita-Honolulu service to two daily flights from three during parts of March, April and May following the earthquake and tsunami, said its last canceled flight between the two cities will be Sunday.

JAL also offers daily service between Honolulu and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, Kansai International Airport in Osaka, and Nagoya.

"The demand is there; it’s improved," said Winston Lee, Japan Airlines’ spokesman in Hawaii. "It’s not quite where it was before (the Japan disasters), but it’s getting there."

Lee said the six-flights-a-day schedule will hold through June and that if JAL decides to make any changes to its July schedule that it would be announced sometime next month.

7-Eleven, ABC Stores to vie in Waikiki

7-Eleven Hawaii Inc. will begin competing against ABC Stores on the prolific visitor-oriented convenience store’s home turf: Waikiki.

A new 7-Eleven store will open at 2155 Kalakaua Ave. next Wednesday and will be known as its Beachwalk flagship store. Two-hour food sampling promotions and other opening festivities will take place next week from Thursday through Sunday after the opening.

"The Beachwalk store is the first step in our plan to add 46 more stores throughout Hawaii," said CEO Greg Hanna.

The store will employ 12 to 15 staff members and will be managed by Anela Briones, who has been with the company since 1988.

LinkedIn ups IPO ante amid demand

SAN FRANCISCO » Investors are clamoring to connect with the online networking service LinkedIn Corp. in the latest sign of the fervor for Internet companies that specialize in bringing together people with common interests.

The demand to buy a piece of LinkedIn is so intense that the 8-year-old company is expected to make its stock market debut tomorrow with a value of at least $4 billion. That would make LinkedIn’s initial public offering of stock the biggest by a U.S. Internet company since Google Inc. went public in 2004, according to the research firm Renaissance Capital.

The appetite for LinkedIn’s IPO encouraged the company’s bankers to raise the asking price by about 30 percent yesterday to $42 to $45 per share. It won’t be surprising if the IPO is priced even higher tonight and then sells for more than that tomorrow when it is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "LNKD."

The IPO is expected to raise about $200 million for LinkedIn and produce $125 million to $135 million for existing stockholders, who plan to sell some of their shares. The biggest winner will be LinkedIn’s co-founder and chairman, Reid Hoffman, whose 20 percent stake in the company will be worth more than $800 million.

Rising gas prices add to Wal-Mart woes

NEW YORK » Rising gas prices are adding another obstacle to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s campaign to reverse a two-year U.S. sales slump. Strong overseas revenue, growth at Sam’s Club and Walmart’s specialty — cost-cutting — pushed the world’s largest retailer’s net income up 3 percent in the first quarter. But business at home is still soft and Walmart offered a cautious second-quarter earnings outlook because it’s worried its low-income customers will spend less at its stores as gasoline hovers around $4 a gallon.

U.S. Walmart stores, which represent 62 percent of the company’s business, posted their eighth straight quarter of revenue declines at stores open at least a year. Walmart’s overall net income rose to $3.39 billion from $3.3 billion a year ago. Revenue, excluding membership fees from Sam’s Club warehouse stores, gained 4.4 percent to $103.41 billion.


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