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In brief: Tri-State sells its stores

Tri-State Distributors has sold its Tri-State stores in Lewiston, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Moses Lake to Sportsman & Ski Haus, an employee-owned sporting goods retailer with locations in Kalispell and Whitefish, Mont.

Sportsman & Ski Haus has no plans to close stores or alter the inventory of the four stores, each of which are independently profitable, said Gerard Connelly, president and majority owner of Tri-State Distributors.

“It will be as if nothing ever happened,” Connelly said.

Tri-State had a record year of selling upper-end sporting goods, hardware, clothing and kitchen gear in 2008, followed by an even bigger one in 2009, Connelly said.

Connelly and his sister Mary Connelly, Tri-State’s chief financial officer, will stay with the company for a year following the sale, which is effective Oct. 1.

Lewiston Morning Tribune

China’s August exports weaken

BEIJING – China’s August export growth weakened further as global demand slowed and its trade surplus stood at $20 billion, likely adding to pressure on Beijing over currency.

Import growth rebounded in a new sign that China’s economic slowdown might be less severe than expected.

Friday’s report by China’s customs agency said August export growth fell to 34.4 percent over a year earlier, down from July’s 38.1 percent. But import growth rebounded to 35.2 percent from the previous month’s 22.7 percent.

The politically sensitive trade surplus narrowed from July but was up 28 percent from the same month last year.

That is likely to fuel demands by Washington and other trading partners for Beijing to ease currency controls.

Associated Press

FDA warns e-cigarette makers

RICHMOND, Va. – The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Thursday to makers of electronic cigarettes, saying some make unproven health claims, but also said the agency wants to work with them to clarify what’s legal.

The FDA said Thursday it sent warning letters to five companies that make e-cigarettes or components for the plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the “smoker” inhales.

In the letters, the FDA said the companies are violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, including unsubstantiated claims and poor manufacturing practices.

One of the companies, Las Vegas-based E-Cig Technology Inc., the agency said, is even selling liquid forms of erectile dysfunction and weight loss drugs that can be used in an e-cigarette. The FDA is asking the companies to let the agency know within 15 business days how it plans to correct the violations.

The other companies receiving warning letters are: E-CigaretteDirect LLC of Colorado; Ruyan America Inc. in Minneapolis; Florida-based Gamucci America; and Wisconsin-based Johnson Creek Enterprises LLC.

Associated Press


From wire reports

• Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan was 4.35 percent, the first weekly rise since mid-June. That’s up from 4.32 percent the previous week, the lowest number since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

• Britain’s financial regulator has hit Goldman Sachs & Co. with a 17.5 million pounds ($27 million) fine for failing to notify U.K. authorities about an investigation in the United States.

• Burger King’s soon-to-be new owners have named a former Latin American railroad executive to be CEO of the fast-food chain after the $3.26 billion deal goes through. The appointment of Bernardo Hees by 3G Capital is a signal that the investment firm is serious about expanding the Burger King brand further into Latin America and elsewhere abroad.

• Brazilian officials say the nation’s coffee harvest will be 20 percent larger than last year’s – but will not be a record crop as earlier forecast. Soy production is also expected to jump 20 percent.