Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

December 22, 2009

Four malls, Toys 'R' Us extend shopping hours

General Growth Properties is giving consumers more time to shop for the holidays this week by extending hours at four of its malls - Towson Town Center, White Marsh Mall, Owings Mills Mall and The Mall in Columbia. The malls will be open 9 a.m. to midnight today and 8 a.m. to midnight Wednesday. The mall owner is extending hours to make up for lost shopping time during Saturday's snowstorm when the malls closed early. Toys 'R' Us will be open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. today and Wednesday. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

- Andrea K. Walker

Accounting firm moves into Legg Mason Tower

Accounting firm RSM McGladrey said Monday that it is moving its Timonium office to the Legg Mason tower in Baltimore's Harbor East, relocating the 350 employees based in Baltimore County to the city. It said it signed a 10-year lease for just under 39,000 square feet and plans to move next summer. The company, which wanted a more visible base of operations, noted that its employees won't all be in the new offices because many work in the field or from home.

- Jamie Smith Hopkins

EBDI design grant for school, MARC stop

The Goldseker Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit that is revitalizing the neighborhood north of the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus. EBDI is overseeing redevelopment of 88 acres as a $1.8 billion community with housing, shops, offices, and life science facilities. The money will used to design a permanent school for grades K to 8 and an East Baltimore stop on the MARC train line within EBDI's boundaries.

- Edward Gunts

Snowbound shoppers spend more online

Retail Web sites have seen large increases in traffic because holiday shoppers stayed home in large areas of the East Coast because of the weather. The weekend before Christmas is one of the busiest of the year, but snow that stretched from the Carolinas to New England closed malls and kept shoppers off treacherous roads. Web retailers saw heavy traffic during the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, online sales rose 24 percent from the same days last year, Web research company Coremetrics said. It also showed the average shopper spending and ordering more on Saturday, when the weather's effects were deepest, than Friday. Retail Web traffic peaked at 2.9 million visitors per minute Saturday night, according to the Akamai Retail Net Usage Index. Online spending grew 14.4 percent after Black Friday through Dec. 12, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse.

- Associated Press

Ford offers retirement, buyouts to workers

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has offered buyout or retirement incentive packages to all of its 41,000 U.S. hourly workers as it tries to further reduce its factory work force. Ford, the healthiest of Detroit's three automakers and the only one to avoid government aid and bankruptcy protection, still has more workers than it needs to produce cars and trucks at current sales levels, said company spokesman Mark Truby. He would not say how many workers Ford expects to take the packages, which include cash payments and other incentives such as vouchers to buy cars and short-term health insurance.

- Associated Press

Pay czar agrees to boost AIG exec's pay package

WASHINGTON - A top executive of American International Group Inc. has been granted a $4.3 million pay-package bump by the troubled insurance giant's majority owner - the U.S. government - because the executive has decided to remain with the company. Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration's pay czar, approved an AIG request to grant the executive a long-term compensation package that includes stock options with a current value of $3.26 million and an additional incentive award of up to $1 million on top of the executive's 2009 base salary of $450,000. In a letter released by the Treasury Department Monday, Feinberg said he was granting the request so that the executive's long-term compensation package would be comparable to those already granted to AIG's other top 25 executives. The executive's name was not disclosed.

- Associated Press

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