Neiman Marcus: No evidence PINs were taken
Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. said it has no evidence that customers’ Social Security numbers, birth dates and personal identification numbers were stolen in the breach of credit card data it disclosed last week. Online customers don’t appear to have been affected by the breach, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus said. The closely held retailer said it will offer free credit-monitoring services to all shoppers who made a credit-card purchase at the company in the last year. The luxury retailer is the second chain after Target Corp. to be struck by hackers during the holiday season.
Initial jobless claims slipped again last week
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, a sign that layoffs are weighing less on the job market and economic growth. The Labor Department said that the less volatile four-week average dropped 13,500 to 335,000. More than 4.7 million Americans collected benefits at the end of last year. The figure has declined almost 1.2 million over the past 12 months. But that number is poised to drop by another 1.35 million in upcoming weeks. That’s because a special federal program expired last month and is starting to affect recipients. Applications appear to have stabilized near prerecession levels, a positive sign for hiring.
Private equity firm to buy Chuck E. Cheese
Ending weeks of speculation, the parent of Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants said it has agreed to be purchased by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management in an all-cash deal valued at $1.3 billion. CEC Entertainment, based in Irving, Texas, said it has entered into a merger agreement for $54 a share. That’s a 25 percent premium over the company’s stock price before rumors began circulating that it was up for sale. The sale of the company, which operates 577 kid-themed restaurants, also includes the assumption of debt.
PepsiCo pulls the plug on ‘natural’ Gatorade
PepsiCo Inc. has discontinued a line of Gatorade it marketed as “natural,” even as people look for foods and drinks that are positioned as such. The company said that through “engagement with athletes on their fueling needs, we found that Gatorade Naturals and G2 Naturals did not resonate with this core consumer.” The company said the drinks provided the benefits of regular Gatorade while using ingredients like sea salt. The line had limited distribution in some Whole Foods and Kroger stores.
Sprint brings back phone upgrade program
Sprint is restoring the ability for customers to upgrade phones more quickly. Sprint Corp.’s “Easy Pay” requires customers to pay the full price of the old phone before getting a new one with installment payments. The customer could then sell the old phone for cash. Programs offered by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile take back the phone and waive remaining payments. Easy Pay replaces Sprint’s “One Up,” which was more like rival upgrade programs.
J&J considers offer for diagnostics business
Johnson & Johnson said it’s been offered $4.15 billion by the Carlyle Group for its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business, a year after J&J began reviewing strategic options for the blood-testing unit as part of a routine pruning of businesses. J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., has until March 31 to decide whether to accept the offer. Johnson & Johnson executives plan to discuss the offer Tuesday, when the health giant and consumer products company reports fourth-quarter results.
FROM NEWS SERVICES