RETAIL

Study says Ohio shoppers

are in the mood to spend

With Ohio consumer confidence continuing to soar, economic forecasters said Monday they expect Ohio shoppers to increase holiday spending by 3.2 percent over last year.

The annual forecast ahead of Black Friday and the December holiday season comes from the University of Cincinnati Economics Center in conjunction with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and its research arm Focus on Ohio's Future.

More than half of the state's spending will come in the Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas, with Cleveland sales growth leading those three areas with a projected 3.8 percent.

The Toledo area is expected to grow 4.6 percent, and Dayton and Youngstown at 3 percent each, Cincinnati and Columbus at 1.9 percent each, Lima at 1.1 percent and Akron at 0.8 percent.

DEVELOPMENT

Huge expansion planned

for Easton Town Center

A $500 million, 16-acre expansion of Easton Town Center is underway as the Columbus development approaches its 20th anniversary, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The addition will include offices, hotels, housing, entertainment and retail. An Aloft boutique hotel and Pins Mechanical are among the first tenants announced for the new portion, which is expected to start opening late next year.

GROCERIES

Tops supermarket chain

emerges from bankruptcy

Tops Markets, says it has emerged from bankruptcy.

The company says in a statement Monday that it has reorganized with the support of its creditors and reduced its debt by about $445 million. A court approved the restructuring plan earlier this month.

Headquartered in Williamsville, N.Y., Tops announced in February that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of its reorganization, it closed 10 stores and resolved a pension dispute with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Tops has 159 supermarkets in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and Vermont. It employs 14,000 people. The chain had 46 stores across Northeast Ohio before exiting the state in 2006.

POWER

General Electric shuffles

officers in struggling unit

General Electric Co. is shuffling leadership in its struggling power unit, part of the company's ongoing effort to slim down operations.

Power is GE's largest division, and it pulls in more than a third of the company's revenues. But demand for its key gas turbines has fallen as consumers have reduced energy use and switched to renewables.

The GE Gas Power business will be led by John Rice, who retired from GE in December after 39 years with the company. Rice will return to serve as chairman of the Gas Power business. Scott Strazik, currently president Power Services, will serve as CEO of Gas Power.

Russell Stokes, currently CEO of GE Power, will serve as CEO of GE Power Portfolio, the new unit focused on steam, nuclear and other areas.