Arkansas Business

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was shown to reporters at the Arkansas Department of Health on Dec. 14, 2020 just before the first doses were administered in the state.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas President and CEO Randy Zook says the business community’s reaction to a Biden executive order mandating vaccines has been "muted." He also said an upcoming legislative session to reform the tax code should include changes to the corporate income tax.

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods is offering its front-line workers paid sick leave for the first time, part of an agreement that secured union support for its mandate that all U.S. employees get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.


Imagine ordering a dozen donuts from a local bakery or new patio furniture from a major Walmart competitor and having Walmart deliver it by Spark delivery, drone or some other autonomous means provided by the retail giant. Well, you don’t have to imagine that.

Bentonville-based Walmart announced Tuesday (Aug. 24) plans to scale a program it calls GoLocal to make final-mile deliveries for businesses of all sizes.


Walmart reported second-quarter net income of $4.276 billion or $1.52 per share for the period ending July 31. While net income was down 39% year-over-year, the retail giant beat the consensus estimates of $1.57 per share, excluding a 26-cent loss adjustment in the quarter.

Earnings-per-share were adjusted downward from $1.78 share from ongoing equity investments.

Economist Malvin Jebaraj with the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business said he's extremely encouraged by the state's April jobs report.
Talk Business & Politics

University of Arkansas Walton College economist Mervin Jebaraj says the April 2021 Arkansas jobs report is layered with good news.

Labor officials reported two weeks ago that Arkansas’ jobless rate in April remained stable at 4.4% from March and it was dramatically down from the 10% unemployment rate recorded in April 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jebaraj said April was good because it reversed a three-month trend of people exiting the state’s labor force.

Sen. John Boozman, Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. French Hill talk with reporters Tuesday after touring the Port of Little Rock and meeting with businesses located there.
Chris Banks / KUAR News

Political leaders in Arkansas are strategizing methods to attract more businesses around the country to the Port of Little Rock. On Tuesday, three members of the state’s congressional delegation toured the facility by bus to discuss the progress of the area’s infrastructure.

U.S. Rep. French Hill was joined by fellow Republicans, senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman to meet with Port Director Bryan Day. They engaged in an open dialogue with businesses located at the port to discuss how to make Arkansas more desirable as an economic partner.

Tyson Foods

Springdale-based Tyson Foods said Wednesday that president and CEO Dean Banks has resigned from the company and board for personal reasons. Donnie King, the company’s chief operating officer, has been named as his successor, effective immediately.

L’Oréal's plant along Interstate 40 in North Little Rock will undergo a $12 million expansion and add 45 jobs for a total workforce of nearly 400 people.
Google Street View

New York City-based L’Oréal USA announced Wednesday (May 26) it will invest more than $12 million to expand its North Little Rock plant. The move is estimated to add 45 jobs to the 350 jobs at the plant.

Arkansas-based Custom Craft Poultry is opening a new poultry processing plant in Little Rock, the company announced Monday.

The company has repurposed the former Odom’s Tennessee Pride sausage plant on Asher Avenue and invested nearly $10 million in the project. It is expected to create 290 new jobs.

Custom Craft Poultry has operations in Batesville and maintains its corporate office in Fayetteville.

Rod Cross

Black-owned food businesses in Little Rock are taking part in Black Restaurant Week’s “No Crumb Left Behind” campaign. According to a press release from the organization, this campaign will give restaurants the opportunity to gain more exposure as they recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week's Marketing Director, said in a statement, “The No Crumb Left Behind campaign is to ensure that we are helping as many culinary businesses stay afloat as the world recovers from the pandemic.”

Colorado-based Summit Utilities, the parent company of Fort Smith-based Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp., announced Thursday it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Arkansas and Oklahoma gas distribution assets of CenterPoint Energy for $2.15 billion.

The deal includes $425 million in cash of unrecovered storm-related incremental natural gas costs incurred in February 2021.

U.S. Rep. French Hill announced plans Thursday to introduce the PPP Revenue Adjustment Calculation to Increase Capital Accessibility Long-Term, or the PRACTICAL Act, next week in Congress.
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, announced plans on Thursday to introduce a change to the Paycheck Protection Program that he touted would help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hill, R-Little Rock, said he was introducing the PPP Revenue Adjustment Calculation to Increase Capital Accessibility Long-Term, or the PRACTICAL Act, next week in Congress. In Arkansas, more than 14,000 businesses have received $4.6 billion through PPP funding over the course of the pandemic. Hill said it has helped save more than 375,000 Arkansas jobs.

Stock Photo

The life blood of many small businesses is access to capital. Since 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has distributed $658.8 million in SBA 7(A) loans in Arkansas, with few of those going to women and minorities.

According to a study by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Winrock International, most of the loans were provided to businesses owned by whites and men, and nearly 77% of the loans were given to businesses owned by whites. Only 8% were given to businesses owned by primarily women.

Walmart Shares Fall On Earnings Miss, Net Income Drops 9.2%

Feb 19, 2021
walmart wal-mart

Walmart disappointed the equity markets Thursday with a 12-cent per share earnings miss in the fourth quarter, despite record revenue and strong same-store sales. Fourth-quarter earnings on an adjusted basis were $1.39 per share, lower than the $1.51 consensus estimate.

The global retailer posted a net income loss of $2.091 billion in the fourth quarter primarily because of accounting charges related to the sale of assets and operations in Argentina, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The company posted net income of $4.141 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2019.

Nestlé will invest more than $100 million to expand the company’s production facility in Jonesboro to include a new line to produce Hot Pockets brand sandwiches, the company announced Wednesday. As part of the expansion, the company plans to hire at least 100 new employees during the next two years as well as renovate and add 90,000 square feet to its facility.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, alleging that the retail giant unlawfully dispensed controlled substances from pharmacies it operated nationwide.

An aerial photo of the Big River Steel facility in November 2016. U.S. Steel Corporation is taking steps to acquire complete ownership of the plant.
Big River Steel

United States Steel Corp. is on the verge of becoming the sole owner of Big River Steel, the first “superproject” in the history of the Natural State.

U.S. Steel has exercised its call option to acquire the remaining equity of BRS for approximately $774 million from cash on hand. The company ended November with approximately $2.9 billion of liquidity, including about $1.7 billion in cash. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including antitrust approval.

restaurants faded rose
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new survey conducted by the Arkansas Hospitality Association shows that restaurants are still struggling as the coronavirus continues spreading through the state. According to the survey, 36% of restaurant operators believe it is unlikely they will still be in business six months from now without additional federal aid.

walmart wal-mart

Walmart sales have grown as an essential retailer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail giant posted better than expected financial third-quarter results with revenue of $134.7 billion, including $1.1 billion of currency fluctuations. Walmart grew revenue by 5.2% from a year ago and outpaced analysts’ expectations of $132.23 billion.

A $50 million grant program for hospitality and service sector businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic launches and state government leaders expect to make grant awards in late December.

Stacy Hurst, Arkansas Secretary for Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said the grants will hopefully help those hard-hit businesses stay alive until COVID-19 is under control.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An order for more than 1 million feet of 36-inch pipe for use on the Keystone XL pipeline project will keep around 500 Welspun manufacturing employees in Little Rock busy through “at least” early 2021, Welspun announced Thursday.

The company did not disclose the value of the TC Energy order.

walmart wal-mart

Walmart will continue having corporate office employees working remotely through at least Jan. 31, 2021. The retail giant just marked 20 weeks of remote working amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said it has accomplished much during the unprecedented time.

Fiocchi of America

A 225-year old Italian company with a large North American presence is expanding manufacturing operations in Central Arkansas.

Fiocchi of America, the U.S. subsidiary of Italy-based Fiocchi Group, announced plans Wednesday to establish a new manufacturing facility in Little Rock. It will invest $15 million in a new facility and hire 85 skilled employees with plans to further increase its workforce as the facility reaches its full potential.

SCA Pharma says it will expand its operations in Little Rock by moving to a facility at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
SCA Pharma

SCA Pharma, an FDA-registered outsourcing facility, announced Tuesday that it will expand its operations in Little Rock.

SCA will invest more than $10 million and potentially double its current workforce of 180 people, the company said. Additionally, the investment will allow SCA Pharma to renovate an existing 42,000-square-foot facility at the Clinton National Airport and construct an additional 20,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the existing facility.

SCA announced last week that it also plans a 40% expansion of its Windsor, Conn., facility.


Arkansas-based Walmart announced Tuesday its third cash bonus for workers in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers for their work with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full-time hourly workers will receive $300 cash payouts while part-time and temporary workers will get $150. Drivers, managers and assistant managers in retail stores and supply chain and health and wellness will also receive bonuses for a total of $428 million.

Walmart made the announcement through an internal memo to employees from Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Little Rock Port Authority announced Monday $11 million in investments to support transportation infrastructure improvements in the port’s footprint. As many as 1,500 new jobs may be added, according to a release from the port. The port is the largest industrial hub in central Arkansas with over 40 businesses employing more than 4,000 people. It features rail, river and interstate highway access.

Murphy Oil Corporation's headquarters in El Dorado, which was built in 2015. The company announced Wednesday it is moving corporate operations to Houston.

El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp. announced Wednesday it will close its corporate headquartersin south Arkansas and relocate to its existing offices in Houston. The El Dorado office has 80 employees, according to a corporate news release. The company is also relocating 110 employees from its Canadian office in Calgary to Houston.

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A company representative says Union Pacific Corp. is furloughing most of the staff at its facility in North Little Rock that repairs the railroad’s locomotives after seeing a substantial drop in business volume because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kristen South is the Nebraska-based railroad's senior director for corporate communications and media relations. She declined to specify how many people were laid off but said employees on Thursday started receiving notifications regarding the Jenks Locomotive Facility’s temporary closure.

Alleviant Health Centers will expand its headquarters in Little Rock, the company said on Tuesday.

An operator of mental health clinics across the U.S., Alleviant provides a combination of traditional therapies and innovative, holistic methods for its patients. In addition to maintaining their corporate operations of 20 employees, the company will add 115 corporate jobs, described as “high-paying,” that includes 22 telebehavioral professionals. The corporate jobs include functions in finance, accounting, marketing, business development, human resources and legal.