June 20, 2009 in Business

Retailer closing NorthTown store

From Staff And Wire Reports

The Anchor Blue store at NorthTown Mall is among 46 stores the chain announced Friday it will close.

Inventory liquidations at the stores began Friday and will continue until all merchandise is gone, said a release from Anchor Blue Retail Group.

Chief Executive Officer Thomas Sands said the closures are part of a restructuring plan for the group, which specializes in denim and teen apparel.

Anchor Blue filed for bankruptcy last month, citing an economic downturn that has hit its biggest market, California, especially hard. Most stores to be closed are in that state or Florida. The chain had 177 stores before the closures.

In the Northwest, besides Spokane, stores in Vancouver and Silverdale, Wash., are marked for closure, as is one in Boise.

Stanford indicted over alleged Ponzi scheme

Richmond, Va. – Brash Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford was indicted and jailed Friday on charges his international banking empire was really just a Ponzi scheme built on lies, bluster and bribery.

The Justice Department announced charges against Stanford and six others who allegedly helped the tycoon run a $7 billion swindle. At a court hearing in Richmond, Va., a federal judge agreed with prosecutors that Stanford poses a flight risk and ordered him to remain in custody until a future detention hearing in Houston.

Among those charged were executives of Stanford Financial Group and a former Antiguan bank regulator who prosecutors say should have caught the fraud but instead took bribes to let the scheme continue.

Investigators say that even as Stanford claimed healthy returns for roughly 30,000 investors, he was secretly diverting more than $1.6 billion in personal loans to himself.

GM adding shift at crossover plant

Detroit – A bright spot has surfaced in a sea of negative auto sales statistics for General Motors Corp.

The company said Friday it will recall 900 workers and restore the second shift at a factory near Lansing, Mich., because of increased sales of its Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia large crossover vehicles.

The company also said it has canceled plans to shut down the Spring Hill, Tenn., plant for an additional week in August because of increased demand for the Chevrolet Traverse crossover.

Gasoline supply report pushing down prices

New York – Gasoline markets exhibited the first signs this week that an extended rally in pump prices is nearing an end after 52 straight days on the rise.

Gasoline futures started falling midweek after a government report showed a huge surplus. Already, wholesale gasoline prices in at least one key market had begun to fade. Should prices continue to fall on the New York Mercantile Exchange, even cheaper gas may be on the way.

Gasoline for July delivery fell nearly 5 percent Friday to $1.9317 a gallon. The plunge in gas futures dragged down other energy commodities as well.

Benchmark crude for July delivery dropped $1.82 to settle at $69.55 a barrel in light trading as the contract was set to close Monday. The August contract fell $1.89 to settle at $70.02 a barrel.

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