AR BIZ: Top 10 stories of 2012

    7:41 PM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Business taking its annual look back at the top 10 business stories of the year.

    10) The ups and downs of Arkansas' manufacturing sector

    The down side of the manufacturing sector was several plant closures and openings that affected thousands of Arkansas jobs. The up is that Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co. of Chicago announced in January that Yarnell's Ice Cream Co. of Searcy, which had closed suddenly in June 2011, was making a comeback.

    9) Arkansas banks continue out of state acquisitions

    Arkansas banks continued growth by snapping up what bank companies were available in states like Florida, Missouri and Alabama. Simmons First National, Centennial Bank, Bank of the Ozarks and Arvest Bank all expanded their footprints outside Arkansas will such acquisitions.

    8) Fallout from the financial collapse of 2008 continues

    Much of this was visible in Arkansas' real estate scene. In northwest Arkansas, developer Joe Whisenhunt got a steal of a deal, $19 million cash, for 375 acres of prime improved real estate in Benton County, and in northeast Arkansas, developer Bruce Burrow filed for bankruptcy, listing $17 million in debts and $14 million in assets.

    7) Shares of Dillard's Inc. bounce back

    The department store chain seeing resurgence in its share price opened the year at about $45 per share and closed November at $89 per share. The company expanded its online reach by investing $4 million in e-ecommerce company Acumen Brands of Fayetteville, and in September, it opened an 852,000 square-foot Internet fulfillment center in Maumelle to support the growth of its online sales division.

    6) The GOP takes control

    Arkansas Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction won majorities in both the state House and Senate. The party also captured all four Arkansas congressional seats, making U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor up for re-election in 2014- the only Democrat left in Arkansas' Congressional delegation.

    There's a look back from number 10 through 6. Check back Mon., Dec. 31 for Arkansas Business's last top five stories.

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