FRIDAY BIZ BRIEFS 06.02

Hancock Fabrics May sales

increase 5.4 percent

BALDWYN – Hancock Fabrics Inc. said Thursday that sales in the four-week period ended May 27, 2006 increased 5.4 percent to $27.3 million, compared with $25.9 million in the same period of the prior year. Sales in comparable stores increased 5.9 percent in May.

In the first four months of fiscal 2006, total sales were $120.9 million versus $123.7 million in the same period of fiscal 2005, and comparable store sales declined 2.3 percent, including a 4.5 percent benefit from stores that are being liquidated in connection with store closing sale events.

Eurocopter awaits word

on new helicopter deal

WEST POINT American Eurocopter Corp. has submitted its final bid to the military for a coveted contract to build a fleet of U.S. Army helicopters.

The deal could triple the company’s economic impact on the Columbus area and bring some 230 jobs to the north Mississippi region, company president and CEO Marc Paganini said Wednesday.

AEC, a subsidiary of European Aeronautic, Defence and Space company, is among several competitors wanting to build the new helicopters to replace the UH-1 and OH-58 helicopters for the Army and National Guard.

Paganini said a decision by the Army could come by June 30.

If the firm gets the deal, AEC’s plant at Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus will receive the bulk of the work.

The $3.8 billion project is designed to build up to 352 of the helicopters.

The company’s 92,500-square foot plant currently employs 131 people, 85 percent of which are technicians, Paganini said.