- - Sunday, November 20, 2011

MERCHANDISING

Penn State sex scandal sends sales plummeting

PHILADELPHIA — The unfolding Penn State child molestation scandal has slammed the university’s reputation and shaken its loyal fan base, which sees the school as more than a campus or a team but a way of life, an identity and a brand.

Part of the immediate fallout from the developing investigation is economic. Retailers and industry analysts say sales of hats, shirts and other items with the Penn State name have plummeted about 40 percent overall compared with the same period last year.

Matt Powell, an analyst with industry research organization SportsOneSource Group, says it’s the first time he has seen such a dramatic and fast decline.

Former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. He says he is innocent.

AUTOMOBILES

Chrysler, GM investments hailed as gateways for jobs

TOLEDO — Three big investments by automakers in one Ohio city are raising hopes for a revived economy.

Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. have promised to spend more than $800 million on retooling and expanding their factories in Toledo.

These moves announced in recent months will create at least 1,400 jobs and keep thousands more. Parts suppliers also are expected to add jobs in and around Toledo.

Chrysler announced plans Wednesday to build a new Jeep sport utility vehicle at its Toledo assembly plant while adding 1,100 jobs. It also hinted that more work could be coming.

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell called the news “the equivalent of a blood transfusion for our city.”

RESTAURANTS

McDonald’s drops egg supplier over cruelty charges

MINNEAPOLIS — McDonald’s Corp. said Friday that it has dropped a Minnesota-based egg supplier after an animal rights group released an undercover video of operations at the egg producer’s farms in three states.

The video by Mercy for Animals shows what the group calls animal cruelty at five Sparboe Farms facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. Its images include a worker swinging a bird around by its feet, hens packed into cramped cages, male chicks being tossed into plastic bags to suffocate and workers cutting off the tips of chicks’ beaks.

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter dated Wednesday to Sparboe Farms saying inspectors found “serious violations” at five Sparboe facilities of federal regulations meant to prevent salmonella. The warning said eggs from those facilities “have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”

Officials with Sparboe Cos. LLC issued a statement calling the video “shocking” and saying an internal investigation identified four employees “who were complicit in this disturbing activity” and were fired this month.

OREGON

Airport to put giant ads on control tower

MEDFORD — Officials in Medford have given the OK to place giant corporate logos on the control tower at the city’s airport.

The City Council voted last week to amend the city code and allow 675-square-foot signs on all four sides of the 100-foot-tall landmark.

The tower’s ad space is expected to fetch $3,000 a month. Councilor Al Densmore said he would love to keep public buildings clear of advertising, but the money will help reduce landing fees, making the airport more attractive to new airlines.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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