The Baltimore Sun

Phelps' mother signs deal with clothier

Women's retailer Chico's said yesterday that it has signed an endorsement deal with Debbie Phelps, the mother of gold medalist Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. The Florida-based retailer approached Phelps after seeing her wearing their clothes while watching her son swim during the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Phelps bought her entire Beijing outfit from a Chico's in Towson. Chico's did not disclose financial details of the deal.

Baltimore to condemn 89 lots in Fairfield

The city of Baltimore moved yesterday to condemn and take possession of 89 lots in Fairfield, a spit of land in Curtis Bay near the Harbor Tunnel. The Board of Estimates agreed to pay the owner, Kevin S. McNeil, $2.1 million for the properties. McNeil did not respond to telephone messages left yesterday with his company, Fleet Transit. Baltimore Development Corp. President M.J. "Jay" Brodie said earlier that negotiations for the city to buy the land had fallen through and that condemnation was a last resort. The land will be bundled into five larger parcels, and the city hopes to sell them to businesses already there and to developers, Brodie said.

Annie Linskey

Southwest drinks will require credit card

Beginning Sept. 9, Southwest Airlines will accept only credit and debit cards for payment for cocktails, beer, wine and other drinks it sells during flights. The airline, which has a major hub at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, will equip its flight attendants with hand-held credit card devices and will no longer accept cash onboard.

Jos. A Bank reports rise in sales, income

Men's clothier Jos. A. Bank, which is based in Hampstead, said yesterday that second-quarter net income increased to $8.9 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with $8.2 million, or 44 cents per share, for the corresponding period a year ago. Comparable store sales for the quarter that ended Aug. 2 increased 6.8 percent, and direct marketing sales, or those from the Internet and catalog, increased 10.2 percent.

Gannett gains majority stake in CareerBuilder

Gannett Co. said yesterday that it had bought a 10 percent interest in CareerBuilder from Tribune Co. for $135 million, giving it a majority stake in the employment Web site. The deal bumps Gannett's interest in CareerBuilder to 50.8 percent. Tribune now owns 30.8 percent of the Web site, with McClatchy Co.'s stake at 14.4 percent and Microsoft Corp.'s interest at 4 percent. Gannett Chairman, President and Chief Executive Craig Dubow said in a statement that he did not expect the transaction to create any major changes at CareerBuilder. The controlling interest gives Gannett, publisher of USA Today, three seats on CareerBuilder's six-seat board of directors. The other seats are held by Tribune, McClatchy and CareerBuilder. Tribune, which was bought out last year in an $8.2 billion deal and also owns The Baltimore Sun, is seeking to raise cash to pay down $13.4 billion in debt.

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