SC business notebook, July 16

July 16, 2014 

Retail Sales

In this photo taken May 14, 2014, Jody Dickman, of Pittsburgh, shops at a Gap store in Pittsburgh. The Commerce Department releases retail sales data for June on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

GENE J. PUSKAR — AP

Local & State

Midlands

Michelin opens Lexington health center

Michelin North America on Tuesday opened its new Lexington Family Health Center – the fourth of its kind for the company, whose North American headquarters is in Greenville.

The clinic is located at the Lexington manufacturing site and is open to all active Michelin employees, retirees and their families. Established through a partnership with Take Care Health Systems, the new health center provides access to primary and urgent care as well as preventive health programs, lab services and physical exams.

The centers are part of the company’s “Choose Well-Live Well” benefits program, designed to provides participants with tools and resources to lead healthier lifestyles.

The Lexington center will employ 11 staff members, nurses and nurse practitioners and an on-site physician to serve the site’s nearly 2,200 employees. It will be have evening and weekend hours.

Coast

Goose Creek firm to build Boeing simulators

Boeing Co. has picked a Goose Creek-based division of Textron Inc. to build flight simulators for the new version of its 737 passenger jet. TRU Simulation + Training announced the signing of the agreement Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow in England.

The first simulator is expected to be ready for training on the 737 MAX in 2017. A spokesman said the devices won’t be made in Goose Creek but did not elaborate. The new contract comes about a year after TRU Simulation made its first training simulator for the Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 airplanes.

The company’s head office is Crowfield Corporate Center. It formerly was part of AAI Corp.

Ripley’s expanding penguin exhibit

A new penguin exhibit and larger lobby are part of a planned addition at Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach – the first major expansion of the attraction since it opened 17 years ago.

The attraction will grow by about 6,000 square feet by extending the building toward the Broadway parking lot, which will add enough space for the penguins, as well as an upgraded ticket area and plaza that will shelter visitors from rain or the harsh sun – there’s no shelter in that area now – more bathrooms and a new gift shop. The new exhibit and expansion, in the works for a few years, is expected to open by next summer.

Construction on the expansion is expected to start in September and wrap up in June, just in time for the busy summer tourism season next year. The aquarium plans to stay open throughout the construction, Atkins said.

Nation & World

Takeover of Lorillard includes Blu

Imperial Tobacco Group chief executive officer Alison Cooper took a surprise step into the future as a five-year-old e-cigarette brand was included in the $7.1 billion purchase of assets from Reynolds American Inc.’s takeover of Lorillard Inc.

As well as storied labels including Kool, Winston, Maverick and Salem, the Bristol, England-based company will also gain Blu, the world’s largest e-cigarette maker. The 113-year-old Imperial made the inclusion of the brand a condition of the deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The addition of Blu instantly propels Imperial from laggard to leader in the fastest-growing part of the cigarette industry. Tobacco companies globally are ramping up investment in new electronic devices as governments clamp down on smoking and growing numbers turn their backs on cigarettes. Blu is the market leader in the $1.7 billion U.S. market for e-cigarettes, which has doubled in size every year since 2009. The brand has a 45 percent market share in the country and its revenue last year was $230 million, Imperial Tobacco said. The (Charleston) Post and Courier, The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News and Bloomberg News contributed.

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