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Tuesday, December 19, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Newsletter

The Newsletter

Horizon Air has added more flights to Canada, taking advantage of the open-skies agreement between the U.S. and Canada.

The regional carrier began three daily nonstops from Seattle to Edmonton yesterday. The carrier sees a good market for the flights because of new business connections between the two areas as a result of free-trade agreements.

Tourism has potential. The flights might provide the ultimate for last-minute shoppers - Edmonton is home to the West Edmonton Mall, a huge place with 800 shops, an indoor roller coaster and a bungee jump.

List keeping: Seattle ranks sixth in Home Office Computing's ranking of best cities to start a home-based business. Portland was seventh.

First managed care changed employee medical coverage. Now dental coverage is undergoing a similar transformation, finds William M. Mercer Inc., a human resources and benefits consultant.

Mercer surveyed 305 companies and found that of the 113 that sponsor dental plans, 39 percent are offering some kind of managed care, including dental HMOs and preferred provider organizations. The companies that have managed dental care say they're starting to see cost savings from the arrangement, Mercer said.

But some are voicing some of the same concerns about managed dental care as they do about medical care: quality of care and freedom of choice.

Retailing has changed, that's for sure. Check out the Nike store when it opens next year. Some key concepts still apply - entertainment, value and convenience - but they don't mean quite what they used to.

-- Entertainment means more such as an evening of browsing at Barnes & Noble and coffee at Starbucks.

-- Value does not mean the lowest price, it denotes the relationship between price and quality. A $100 sweater that lasts four years, for instance, would be a better value than a $50 cardigan that unravels in a year. Stores such as Ross and Marshall's have benefited by the swing toward value.

-- Convenience means saving shoppers time, be it adding checkout registers or delivering groceries to the home, as QFC does.

Compaq Computer is experiencing "a nice increase" in holiday sales of personal computers compared with last year, Chief Executive Eckhard Pfeiffer says.

Compaq is the world PC market leader, and its performance is considered a bellwether for the industry. Some analysts were concerned that PC sales wouldn't increase as much as manufacturers have anticipated.

Independent surveys also show robust sales. On Dec. 6, the research firm ARS said 86 percent of 50 computer retailers indicated PC sales were as good as or better than expected.

The latest on China's economy indicates that it will grow 10 percent in 1995, its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, while inflation has basically met the 1995 target of 15 percent.

The economy is expected to bottom out in the second quarter of 1996 and begin a recovery in the third quarter, according to a report from Japan's Kyodo News Service.

Taiwan's computer-hardware industry will earn $19.67 billion this year, up 35 percent from a year earlier, to become the world's third-largest after the United States and Japan.

Taiwanese companies will produce 31.33 million monitors, or 57 percent of the global market, in 1995, generating $7.27 billion in revenue, the Institute for Information Industry said.

Taiwanese companies also will produce 20.85 million main circuit boards this year for a 65 percent share of the world market.

Need some incentive to be cautious with that credit card in these busy shopping days?

If a consumer has an average $1,800 balance and makes only the minimum payment each month, it would take 18 years to pay off the balance, according to Bankcard Holders of America. That's only until December 2013.

Call it Windows 96, at least among Seattle businesses. A survey of 50 area companies showed that many plan to upgrade, but only 5 percent plan to do it this year. The survey, done by the Seattle office of Enterprise, a client/server and network staffing firm, showed most, 77 percent, plan to go to Windows 95 eventually.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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