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Wholesalers on a roll

MANITOBA'S wholesalers have been on a bit of a roll lately.

Statistics Canada said Monday Manitoba was one of only three provinces to see an increase in wholesale sales in November.

Not only that, it had the largest percentage gain of the three, at 4.9 per cent. It was Manitoba's third month-over-month increase in the last four months.

Statistics Canada said the province's wholesalers shipped out $$1.39 billion worth of goods during the month, versus $1.33 billion in October.

The total was also a 6.9 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.30 billion worth of goods was shipped. That was also the biggest year-over-year gain among the provinces.

The agency said much of Manitoba's month-to-month gain was due to higher shipments of minerals and precious metals.

It said November's gain left wholesale sales running seven per cent ahead of last year's pace after the first 11 months of the year -- $14.9 billion versus $13.9 billion. That's two percentage points above the national year-to-date increase of five per cent.

For November alone, Canada's wholesale sales were up 0.7 per cent from October to November, and were 3.2 per cent from a year earlier. Statistics Canada said five of the seven wholesale sub-sectors reported increases. The largest advance in dollar terms was in the machinery, equipment and supplies sub-sector, which saw its sales rise by 1.8 per cent.

Sun News losing big bucks

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Quebecor says its television network Sun News is projected to have lost $17 million in 2012 and will continue to record unacceptable losses unless the federal regulator requires cable and satellite companies to carry it on their basic service.

The media giant says the current distribution agreements are inadequate to support the channel, which is only offered in 40 per cent of households. It says these distribution challenges also hurt advertising revenues.

Quebecor called the situation "clearly unsustainable." It claims the addition of Sun News -- dubbed "Fox News North" by its critics -- to the basic service would be "negligible" to consumers, adding only $2.16 annually to each household -- $1.08 per francophone household.

Atari seeks bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK -- Video game-maker Atari's U.S. operations have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to separate from their French parent company, which is filing a similar motion separately in France.

In a statement, Atari says the move is necessary to secure investments it needs to grow in mobile and downloadable video games.

Atari's U.S. operations have shifted to focus on digital games and licensing, including developing mobile games, and have become a growth engine for its owner. France's Infogrames Entertainment first took a stake in Atari in 2000. It acquired the remaining stake in 2008.

RIM stock soaring high

WATERLOO, Ont. -- Research In Motion's stock reached levels unseen since early last year in trading Monday before settling for a substantial gain of almost 11 per cent on the day.

Shares in the BlackBerry maker hit $18.49 at one point before closing up $1.70 at $17.41 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The last time RIM shares traded above $18 was in January 2012, before the stock began a long decline marked by product setbacks and disappointments that saw it hit a low of $6.10 in September. The stock has gained more than 18 per cent since the close last Monday and more than 185 per cent since last September.

-- staff, news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 22, 2013 B7

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