McDonald's sales fall for a third month

McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, said sales at its established U.S. stores fell for the third straight month as severe weather and waning consumer confidence kept diners at home. Sales at stores open at least 13 months slid 3.3 percent last month in the United States, McDonald's said. Analysts had estimated a 1.6 percent drop. The January decline follows drops of 3.8 percent in December and 0.8 percent in November. The company, which has about 14,100 domestic locations, has recently struggled to attract Americans amid fierce competition and declining consumer sentiment.

Entertainment Weekly gets SI editor

Matt Bean, a Sports Illustrated editor with extensive digital experience, has been named the new editor of Entertainment Weekly, Time Inc. said Monday. His appointment is part of extensive reshuffling of executives at Time Inc. as its parent company, Time Warner, prepares to spin off its stable of magazines into a new company, separate from the more lucrative cable and film operations. Entertainment Weekly's previous editor, Jess Cagle, was promoted to editorial director of both People and Entertainment Weekly in January. Last week, Time also began laying off 500 employees across its brands.

L'Oreal reports earnings increase

L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company, reported a 4.8 percent increase in 2013 earnings and said it's confident of outperforming the global cosmetics market this year, while boosting sales and profit. Operating income rose to $5.3 billion, Paris-based L'Oreal said in a statement after European markets closed. That about matched the average estimate of 19 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. L'Oreal said last month it is seeking to grow 1.5 times faster than the global cosmetics market in 2014, which Sanford C. Bernstein analysts say will be a challenge.

Struggling Bitcoin player may point to flaw

A major player in the Bitcoin universe was struggling to stay alive Monday, raising questions about whether there is a fundamental flaw in the computer program that underlies the virtual currency. The price of Bitcoin has fallen sharply, to below $600 for a single Bitcoin from more than $800 a week ago. Mt. Gox, a Japanese company that previously was the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, halted all customer withdrawals late last week. On Monday, the company said its problems were caused by a previously undetected glitch in the basic Bitcoin protocol that made it possible for users to falsify transactions.

California beef firm shuts down after recall

A California company that recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef products distributed in four states has voluntarily been closed, the plant's quality-control manager confirmed Monday. Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma on Saturday recalled the beef products sold to retailers and distributors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the plant "processed diseased and unsound animals" without a full federal inspection. There have been no reported illnesses linked to the beef products in question, the company and the USDA said.

Fed survey finds more optimistic consumers

Consumers last month were more optimistic that their wages would rise, and they expected to spend more this year, according to survey results Monday from the Federal Reserve. Americans also expected inflation to slow somewhat to 3 percent in the coming year, the central bank's Survey of Consumer Expectations said. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month released the first results of its new monthly survey on consumer confidence.News services