MANUFACTURING

R.W. Martin plans expansion

R.W. Martin Co., which services and sells pre-owned and rebuilt industrial equipment for the textile care industry, broke ground Thursday for a new remanufacturing facility in Tallmadge.

The new 34,000-square-foot building will be built on five acres in Carmen Industrial Park and is expected to open in May. Martin Co. is retaining its corporate headquarters in Kent.

The site will be used for machinery cleaning, machine repair and quality control inspection, and include state-of-the-art assembly and refinishing areas, Martin said in a news release.

“The facility design will improve workflow and process efficiency by utilizing work cells for each operation, minimizing equipment handling,” Chip Ottman, Marin president, said in a news release. “The result will be improved processes and a better finished product for our customers.”

RETAIL

Walmart trims headquarters

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is laying off workers at its Arkansas headquarters this week.

The company is trimming jobs in its global business, finance, human resources, merchandise, real estate and technology divisions.

Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin’s office said Thursday that there would be fewer than 500 total job losses at Walmart’s home office.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove says the company is “restructuring and streamlining” its teams before its fiscal year ends next Wednesday.

REAL ESTATE

New home purchases decline

Americans cut back their purchases of new homes in December as harsh winter weather dampened demand.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that new-home sales skidded 9.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000. It was the biggest drop since August 2016. November sales were revised lower — to 689,000 from an originally reported 733,000, but were still the strongest since October 2007.

December sales had been expected to fall after strong November figures, but the drop was steeper than economists had forecast.

TOBACCO

FDA rejects heating device

Government advisers dealt a blow Thursday to Philip Morris International’s hopes to sell its heat-not-burn device in the United States as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes.

The penlike device heats Marlboro-branded sticks of tobacco but stops short of burning them. It is already sold in more than 30 countries and Philip Morris aims to make it the first “reduced risk” tobacco product ever sanctioned by the U.S.

The votes Thursday by the panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers on the marketing of the iQOS device are nonbinding. The FDA will make a separate decision on whether to allow the product on the market, and — if so — how it could be marketed to consumers.

FDA clearance would mark a major milestone in efforts by both the industry and government officials to provide alternative tobacco products to U.S. smokers

Compiled from staff and wire reports.