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HP may cut 30,000 jobs; falling demand for PCs cited

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard is poised to eliminate as many as 30,000 jobs to compensate for dwindling demand for personal computers as more people connect to the Internet on smartphones and tablets, according to reports published Thursday.

The looming cuts reported by Bloomberg News and the technology blog All Things D would trim as much as 9 percent of HP's workforce, based on the 349,600 people employed by the company based in Palo Alto as of last October.

Bloomberg News said HP is considering 25,000 job cuts. All Things D, which is affiliated with the Wall Street Journal, estimated 30,000 jobs will be jettisoned. Both reports cited unnamed people familiar with HP's plans.

Company spokesman Michael Thacker declined to comment on the reports.


Gap sales rise; profit flat

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Clothing seller Gap Inc. said Thursday that sales improved at its Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic chains and online. But its first-quarter net income was unchanged from a year ago as rising costs offset those gains.

Gap has struggled for years to reclaim its status as a fashion leader, and the results show it is making strides in its effort to get more people to shop in its stores. More than 67 percent of the company's revenue came from stores in the U.S., while 12 percent was generated online.

Gap said its net income was $233 million, or 47 cents per share.

Gap first announced its quarterly revenue earlier this month. It rose 6 percent to $3.49 billion, topping analysts' average forecast of $3.46 billion.


Lackawanna firm gets grant

Alliance Innovative Manufacturing, a Lackawanna precision machining company, has been awarded a $181,000 grant from Empire State Development for a $2.3 million expansion project that is expected to create six new jobs by the end of the year.

The grant will help Alliance pay for new machinery and equipment to expand its manufacturing capacity. The company had told state officials last year that it was losing market share because it could not produce large parts.

The ongoing project will renovate the company's 35,000-square-foot plant and upgrade the facility's utilities and infrastructure. The company also is purchasing new milling and vertical turning machines, along with the cranes and heavy tow motors needed to produce those larger parts.

The expansion already has created five new jobs at the company, which currently has 33 employees and expects to add six workers by year's end.

In October, the Buffalo and Erie County Regional Development Corp. approved a $358,000 loan to Alliance to help finance the equipment purchase.


Sears profitable again

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) -- Sears Holdings Corp. said Thursday it returned to a profit in the first quarter as it benefited from a gain on the sale of underperforming stores. The troubled retailer also said it would spin off a stake in its Canada unit to focus on turning around its U.S. business.

The company based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., which runs Sears, Kmart and Lands' End, said it earned $189 million, or $1.78 per share, for the period ended April 28. It lost $170 million, or $1.58 per share, a year ago.


JPMorgan head to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) -- JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is willing to testify at a congressional hearing this spring on the bank's $2 billion trading loss.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said he invited Dimon to testify about the loss at the nation's largest bank. Since Dimon acknowledged the misstep last week, Democratic lawmakers have stepped up calls for stricter oversight of major financial firms.

A spokeswoman for the bank said Dimon will accept the invitation.