Buckle, Hot Topic profits defy recession
Two chains that sell clothing for teenagers are saying “whatevs” to the recession.
The Buckle Inc. reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 18 percent and sales 21 percent as shoppers snapped up its trendy jeans and accessories. Hot Topic Inc.’s profit rose 19 percent as sales rose 8 percent to $238 million in results also released Wednesday.
Teens can be notoriously fickle, but success seemed to come at the lower end of the price spectrum, as long as teens like the fashion: American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which has increasingly focused on value but struggled to hone its fashion message, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., which has kept price points high while its competitors aggressively discount, have seen slumping sales.
Freddie Mac asking for more money
Freddie Mac said Wednesday it will ask the government for nearly $31 billion in additional aid after posting a gargantuan loss of more than $50 billion last year as the U.S. housing market worsened.
The mortgage finance company posted a loss of $23.9 billion, or $7.37 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. That compares with a loss of $2.5 billion, or $3.97 a share, in the year-ago period.
The recent loss was driven by $13.2 billion in hedged trades, $7.2 billion in credit losses from the declining housing market conditions and $7.5 billion in writedowns of the value of its mortgage-backed securities. The company also took a charge of $8.3 billion for now-worthless tax credits.
Job discrimination complaints set record
A record number of workers filed federal job discrimination complaints last year, with claims of unfair treatment by older employees seeing the largest increase.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday it received more than 95,000 discrimination claims during the 2008 fiscal year, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
Charges of age discrimination jumped by 28.7 percent – with 24,582 claims – while allegations based on race, sex and retaliation also surged to record highs.
With the economy in recession and companies shedding millions of jobs, labor experts suggested that older workers may have suffered a disproportionate hit. Federal laws barring age discrimination cover workers 40 and older.
From wire reports