VALLEY BRIEFS 21st Century Earnings Soar 21st Century Insurance Group reported net income of $29.2 million or $0.34 per share on revenues of $320.7 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2003. That compares with net income of $9.9 million or $0.11 per share on revenues of $234 million for the second quarter of 2002. The Woodland Hills-based auto insurer bested consensus earnings estimates by $0.18. 21st Century said direct premiums increased 26 percent to $300.9 million for the period. For the first half, the company reported earnings of $22.4 million or $0.26 per share on revenues of $608.3 million. IN the first six months of 2002, 21st Century earned $18.2 million or $0.21 per share on revenues of $462.2 million. Media Divestiture 101communications, a multi-media company based in Chatsworth, has sold off two of its European businesses. TargetFile, a list rental business that operates in the United Kingdom, was sold to Infoconomy, the London-based publisher of Information Age. Linux Expo, a London trade show, has been sold to XPO Events Ltd. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. Jeffrey S. Klein, CEO of 101, said the businesses were a small part of 101, and the divestiture will allow the company to focus its resources on growth opportunities in the U.S. market. Sport Chalet Stumbles Same store sales at Sport Chalet, Inc. decreased 2.1 percent in the company’s first fiscal quarter ended June 30, contributing to the company’s first net loss in more than seven years. La Canada-based Sport Chalet said the loss primarily resulted from unseasonably cold weather throughout the quarter, which affected sales of spring and summer merchandise. For the period, Sport Chalet lost $593,000 or $0.09 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $84,000 or $0.01 per share in the first quarter of last year. Sales for the quarter increased to $53.3 million from $51.2 million in the same period last year due to two new store openings. In announcing the results, Sport Chalet CEO Craig Levra noted the company’s achievements in what he called a challenging retail environment. “In the quarter we achieved noteworthy advances in objectives relating to improved merchandise procurement, inventory management and our balance sheet position,” he said. “In addition we completed large-scale remodels of two mature stores and have made significant advances on our Northern California expansion.” Workers Stay Put The continuing downturn in the economy is keeping many more workers at their jobs. According to a just released survey on career mobility, a mere 3.8 percent of workers left their jobs voluntarily for another employer in the second quarter of 2003, the lowest percentage in two years. “It was the first time since the recession started in the second quarter of 2001 that voluntary job changers slipped below four percent,” said Judy Kneisley, senior vice president and general manager for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Woodland Hills office, which compiled The Career Mobility Index. The percentage of workers who left their jobs for another in the comparable period of 2002 was somewhat higher 4.1 percent according to the Lee Hecht Harrison data. Both periods saw considerably less job mobility than the second quarter of 2001, when 6 percent of workers surveyed left their jobs for another. The data shows that voluntary job changes spiked in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 6 percent, an increase the company attributed to expectations that never materialized. “At the end of last year there was hope for a strong recovery,” said Kneisley, “but with more indications that the recovery will be jobless, fewer people than ever want to take the risk.” The Lee Hecht Harrison Career Mobility Index survey is conducted by telephone quarterly among 1,015 adults by International Communications Research in Media, Penna. Walking Co. Trips The Walking Co., a Chatsworth based retailer of walking, hiking and other high-end footwear, has filed for Chapt. 11 protection. The 12-year-old company will close 29 of its more than 50 stores after racking up about $34 million in debt. The company attributed its difficulties to a major expansion that did not yield the sales increases officials had expected. The Walking Co. generated sales of $86 million a year. Telecom Still Hurting Losses are continuing at Optical Communication Products Inc. For the quarter ended June 30, the company reported a net loss of $4.3 million or $0.04 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $265,000, or $0.00 per share for the same period in 2002. Revenues decreased to $9.5 million versus $9.8 million in the comparable period last year. The company said it expected fourth quarter sales to range from $8 million to $10 million.