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Economy Briefs: Weak sales gains reported for November
Question of the Day
NEW YORK — Black Friday was no match for Sandy.
Major retailers such as Kohl’s, Target and Macy’s on Thursday reported weak sales in November as a strong start to the holiday shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving wasn’t enough to fully offset a slow start to the month caused by Superstorm Sandy.
The storm stunted enthusiasm among shoppers early in the month just as stores were preparing for the busiest shopping period of the year, a roughly two-month stretch in November through December when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.
Deals site LivingSocial cuts 400 jobs worldwide
NEW YORK — Online deals company LivingSocial is cutting 400 jobs worldwide, or about 9 percent of its work force, as the deals market continues to face challenges.
LivingSocial spokesman Andrew Weinstein said Thursday that all but a few dozen of the cuts are in the United States. The company’s sales force faced the highest number of cuts, while others are in customer service and editorial, the people paid to write up the deals. LivingSocial said it is moving its customer service operations to Tucson, Ariz., from Washington, where it has its headquarters.
Mr. Weinstein said the job cuts came as part of a review of LivingSocial’s global operations. He said the review was designed to make sure that the company has the resources it needs to invest in areas that are “critical to the future,” such as marketing and mobile.
Verizon retirees sue to stop transfer of pensions
NEW YORK — Verizon retirees are suing the phone company because it’s planning to transfer the responsibility to pay their pensions to an insurance company, where they will have fewer legal protections.
Verizon Communications Inc. said last month that it would transfer $7.5 billion of its pension obligations, covering 41,000 management retirees, to Prudential Insurance.
The deal effectively turns the company’s defined-benefit pensions into annuities.
The Association of BellTel Retirees sued in federal court in Dallas, seeking a court order to halt the deal, which is set to close in December. They note that annuities aren’t covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Randal S. Milch, New York-based Verizon’s general counsel, says the suit lacks merit, adding that Prudential has a long history of providing group annuity benefits.
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