December 22, 2011 in Business



Wal-Mart pulls infant formula after newborn dies of infection

LEBANON, Mo. – Wal-Mart says it has pulled a batch of powdered infant formula from 3,000 stores nationwide after a newborn Missouri boy became gravely ill with a suspected infection and died after being taken off life support.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said Wednesday the move is cautionary as health officials investigate Sunday’s death of 10-day-old Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Mo.

No government recall has been ordered for the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G.

The Lebanon Daily Record reports Avery received a preliminary diagnosis of infection from a rare bacterium called Cronobacter sakazakii.

The formula’s manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutrition, says the batch Wal-Mart pulled tested negative for the bacterium. Spokesman Christopher Perille says numerous companies sell the formula, though it’s unclear if others sold from that batch.

Associated Press

Better-than-expected sales buoy hopes for final week

NEW YORK – The holiday shopping season is wrapping up to be bigger than anyone expected. Now, retailers are holding their breath and hoping consumers will keep spending in the final days before Christmas.

Sales from November through Saturday rose 2.5 percent, compared with the same period a year ago, according to research firm ShopperTrak, which did not give a dollar figure. Online, shoppers have spent almost $32 billion online for the holiday season so far, a 15 percent increase from a year ago, according to comScore, which tracks Web use.

The increases are good news for retailers, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. The final week before Christmas, which includes four of the top 10 holiday shopping days, can account for up to 20 percent of sales for the season.

Associated Press

Bank of America settles discrimination claims

Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to resolve allegations that its Countrywide unit engaged in a widespread pattern of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers on home loans.

The settlement with the U.S. Justice Department was filed Wednesday with the Central District court of California and is subject to court approval. The DOJ says it’s the largest settlement in history over residential fair lending practices.

According to the DOJ’s complaint, Countrywide charged over 200,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers with a similar credit profile. The complaint says that these borrowers were charged higher fees and rates because of their race or national origin rather than any other objective criteria.

Associated Press

Beer and wine may be served at fast-food restaurant chain

COLUMBUS, Ohio – White Castle, a 90-year-old hamburger chain known for its square “slider” burgers, is sipping on the idea of offering alcoholic beverages as it tests beer and wine sales at a restaurant in Indiana.

The food famously craved by stoners in the 2004 movie “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” can be had with a glass of wine or a domestic or seasonal beer at a Lafayette, Ind., restaurant that fuses a conventional White Castle with a new concept for the company called Blaze Modern BBQ. Wine costs $4.50 and beers start at $3. Other fast-food restaurants also are dabbling with alcohol. Earlier this year, Burger King opened the Whopper Bar South Beach, a restaurant in Miami Beach offering beer, and Starbucks Corp. has been testing beer and wine at a few sites.

Associated Press

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