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Weekly Roundup: Aug. 24-28

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Catch up on this week’s top business news here. For daily information, subscribe to our free newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, and find archived newsletters at GulfshoreBusiness.com.

 

Friday, Aug. 28

CHICO’S SEES BETTER 2ND QUARTER, BUT STILL REPORTS MAJOR LOSS FROM PANDEMIC 

Chico’s FAS Inc., a national retail clothing company based in Fort Myers, reports net sales of $306.2 million, an improvement of 9.2% from its first quarter, but sales decreased about 39.8% from last year’s second quarter, according to financial results the company announced Wednesday for the fiscal 2020 second quarter ending Aug. 1. The company’s second-quarter net loss of $46.8 million, which reflects significant retail disruptions related to the pandemic, also is an improvement from the first quarter of the year. The company reports a net loss of more than $225 million for the first half of the fiscal year. Chico’s FAS includes a brand portfolio of retailers Chico’s, Soma and White House Black Market. 
 

Thursday, Aug. 27

Video courtesy of WINK News

PROPOSALS DISCUSSED TO REPLACE WESTBOUND CAPE CORAL BRIDGE

Lee County wants to make changes to Cape Coral Bridge. Many community members have wanted to see a change to the way the bridge functions for years. The mayor questions whether the current plan makes sense but does support a bridge project. The current plan is to replace the westbound span of the Cape Coral Bridge, something the Lee County Department of Transportation says would happen in 2027. A representative of the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization said they do not think a new bridge is a viable option, WINK News reports. The concern is funding and environmental constraints, but they plan to do an environmental screening on a possible bridge connecting south Cape Coral to Iona Road. The city and county maintain the only set plan is the replacement of the westbound span of this bridge.
 

Wednesday, Aug. 26

STUDY: LEASING FLORIDA TURNPIKE COULD GENERATE $14.5 BILLION

 A new Reason Foundation study finds Florida could net between $11 billion and $17.9 billion by leasing the Florida Turnpike, giving the state much-needed money to fund other transportation projects or pay down growing public pension liabilities, according to a news release. Using data from comparable long-term toll road leases worldwide, the Reason Foundation report estimates that the medium-range net proceeds (after paying off outstanding Turnpike bonds) would be $14.5 billion for a 50-year lease of the Florida Turnpike. The state would likely be able to choose to receive that money in either a lump-sum up-front payment or annual lease payments. For the full study, click here. Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. For more information, visit reason.org.
 

Tuesday, Aug. 25

Video courtesy of WINK News

CLASSES STARTED MONDAY AT FLORIDA SOUTHWESTERN STATE COLLEGE

Monday was the first day of fall class for students at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers. The school was the first in this region to reopen this summer for in-person learning during the pandemic and it has made a lot of safety changes over the past few months. One big way FSW is keeping its students and staff safe is through technology. They launched a website where people can report COVID-19 cases. On top of that, the school is requiring face coverings and social distancing in all buildings, encouraging remote work for employees when possible, increasing daytime cleaning staff, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces three times a day. For both employees and students, the school will use contact tracing to find buildings and rooms that were accessed by those who test positive. FSW also has a website where you can see if any positive cases were reported, WINK News reports.
 

Monday, Aug. 24

NAPLES HOUSING MARKET SEES SUMMER SALES SURGE IN JULY 

The Naples housing market experienced a continued surge in activity during July, which resulted in a 57.3% increase in homes under contract for the month. Closed sales during July increased by 35.4% compared to July 2019, greatly surpassing June’s closed sales activity following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. However, a decreasing supply of inventory, which broker analysts believe is caused by heightened homebuying interest this summer, is making it difficult to keep up with the strong buyer demand. Out-of-state visitors are here to do more than just golf and visit the beach this summer, according to broker analysts reviewing the July 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR). There were 15,634 showings during July, less than half the number of showings during June (36,912), yet pending sales increased which indicates that properties were purchased virtually, sight unseen. July’s pending sales spiked to 1,446 from 919 pending sales in July 2019. The majority of sales that resulted in the 35.4% increase in overall closed sales during July occurred in the single-family home market, which saw a 42.8% increase in closed sales compared to a 27.3% increase reported in the condominium market. To view the entire report, visit NaplesArea.com.
 
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