Non-motorized mowers clip Toro; also: Sun Country celebrates hometown, Target offers multicultural products, Best Buy navigates market chaos

Just like drivers are ditching big trucks for hybrids and bicycles, homeowners are parking gas-guzzling lawnmowers in favor of those non-motorized, push reel mowers. Finance and Commerce’s Kendall Anderson reports that retailers are struggling to keep the manual mowers in stock, while Bloomington-based Toro is having to step up promotions to sell its larger mowers. I’ve been using my grandma’s old reel mower since last summer with no problems or complaints to report.

When regulators sign-off on the proposed Delta-Northwest merger, Sun Country will become the largest airline still headquartered in the Twin Cities. The carrier kicks off a new “Hometown Airline” marketing campaign today with free ice cream for passengers at the Humphrey terminal. And to the state: Oh yeah, while you’re topping off that sundae, do you think you could help us out with $50 million?

Target is debuting a new line of natural and organic skin care products for “multicultural skin types.” SheaMoisture products include soap, lotion, body wash and shaving solution, according to the retailer’s press release. They were developed with Sundial Brands, an African-American skin care company known for its line of Nubian Heritage products.

Best Buy is in a “curious seat right now,” says the Motley Fool. Consumers have gone “haywire,” rival Circuit City may be bought up by Blockbuster, and all retailers are fighting for a share of economic-stimulus-check spending. The Fool says Best Buy is having success amidst the chaos in part by giving local and regional managers more leeway than most retail chains to adjust individual store’s inventory based on local trends and preferences.

From the Business Agenda mailbag: UnitedHealth Group wasn’t pleased with a story we linked to the other day about an American Medical Association report card of health insurers: “The AMA did not do an overall ranking of companies. The original Associated Press story cited only one out of 15 metrics in the AMA study. UnitedHealthcare ranked the best in the study in lowest denials of claims and among the top three in payment timeliness,” writes spokesman Karl Oestreich. “UnitedHealthcare continues to work collaboratively on all efforts that will simplify health care for physicians and consumers and achieve efficiencies.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John N. Finn on 06/20/2008 - 01:12 pm.

    Strange but true: Back in the early 80’s, Toro was developing a line of high-tech exercise machines. (I sort of remember that they recieved an Industrial Design Society of America excellence award for the products which were never marketed.) I guess the company realized that keeping homeowners fat and lazy was more to their advantage.

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