Washington Business celebrates its second birthday this month. Business birthdays are times for remembering: the bulls and the bears, old and bygone firms, and the melange of prices, statistics, and news items recorded over the years in The Post. How many do you recall?
In April, 1952 the market was upbeat, thanks to advances in rail and steel stocks. Women's fashion shoes were on sale at Hecht's ($11 to $14.40), and Cannon wash cloths were going for 19 cents. People's Drug was promoting an eight-ounce tin of Planter's peanuts (27 cents, regularly 35 cents). Congress and President Truman were sparring over defense spending.
In April 1957 there was a debate over President Eisenhower's $71.8 billion budget. The president was willing to concede $1.8 billion in cuts but warned against any "multi-billion" excision. Washington Gas Light Co. reported a March increase in sales over March, 1956, and Capital Airlines, described as one of the city's largest private employers, was reaching its 30th anniversary. Safeway was selling ground beef for 39 cents a pound.
April 1962 saw U.S. auto firms urging European nations to curb their discriminatory tariffs on American cars. The American Friends Service Committee called upon President Kennedy to postpone nuclear testing. Ground beef was 49 cents a pound, a 19-inch Zenith portable TV (black-and-white) was on sale for $189.95, and a coach seat from Washington to Miami on National Airlines cost $37.
April 1967 found construction underway for a new shopping complex called Montgomery Mall. Fryers were selling for 27 cents a pound at Grand Union, and First Federal Savings and Loan of Washington was paying 5 percent on six-month certificates ($2,000 minimum). Chrysler reported its profits had plunged 70 percent in the first quarter.
In April 1972 Perpetual Building Association was bullish in its advertising ("If you're ready to buy a home Perpetual is ready with mortgage money"). The market wasn't too far from 1,000, and there was talk that Julius Garfinckel and Co. would be the major tenant of Woodies' proposed shopping mall and commercial complex at Western and Wisconsin Avenues. $3.99 was the going price for permanent press tablecloths at Lansburgh's.
The big news in April 1977 was the grim energy outlook. General Foods had raised its wholesale coffee prices to $4.46 a pound. The outgoing chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board urged Congress to reduce the regulation of airlines. Ground beef was 69 cents a pound.
Last April, Washington Business found the consensus to be "bullish on the . . . region." There was, however, a note of caution: "Some business executives are concerned that the Reagan administration's proposed cutbacks in the federal establishment will lead inevitably to a period of unusual stagnation locally."