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Skechers suit settlement gets tentative approval

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A federal judge on Monday has tentatively approved a $40 million settlement between Skechers USA Inc. and consumers who bought the company’s toning shoes.

A class-action lawsuit was filed over ads that consumers say made unfounded claims that the footwear would help people lose weight and strengthen muscles.

An undetermined number of people will be able to get repaid for their purchases – up to $80 per pair of Shape-Ups; $84 per pair of Resistance Runner shoes; up to $54 per pair of Podded Sole Shoes; and $40 per pair for Tone-Ups.

The agreement comes three months after Skechers reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission over the advertisements for the shoes.

Luxury cars perform poorly in new frontal crash tests

DETROIT – Most midsize luxury cars – including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class – performed poorly in a new frontal crash test developed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The new test is designed to replicate what happens when a car strikes another car or a fixed object like a utility pole. The test strikes 25 percent of a car’s front end into a five-foot rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour.

Insurance Institute crash test results are closely watched by the auto industry and often lead to changes in design or safety features.

Of the 11 cars tested, only the Acura TL, Volvo S60 and Infiniti G earned good or acceptable ratings from the institute, which is funded by insurers.

Four cars – the Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC – earned marginal ratings. Four others – the Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS 250, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 – earned poor ratings.

Sears spinning off Outlet, Hometown, hardware stores

NEW YORK – Sears is moving forward with plans to spin off its Hometown and Outlet stores as well as some hardware stores into a separate publicly traded company.

Sears Holdings Corp. had signaled that it would split the companies back in February. There were a total of 1,238 Hometown, Outlet and hardware stores as of April 28, according to Sears, which is trying to turn around its business and spruce up its image.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores Inc. said that it expects to raise $346.5 million through a rights offering. In connection with the deal and prior to the separation, it will take out an asset-backed line of credit from which it will draw $75 million to $100 million to fund a cash dividend. That would bring the total proceeds to be paid to Sears Holdings to as much as $446.5 million and is in line with its previously stated goal of raising between $400 million and $500 million.

The news sent the company’s stock up $2.94, or 5.7 percent, to close at $54.36 Monday.

The new company will be listed on the Nasdaq under the “SHOS” ticker symbol.

NBCUniversal: London Games were ‘most-watched’ event

NEW YORK – NBCUniversal is calling the London Olympics “the most-watched television event in U.S. history.”

Citing Nielsen Co. ratings figures, the company said Monday that more than 219 million viewers watched the Summer Games on NBC and numerous sister networks. This figure surpasses the 215 million who watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The company said NBC averaged a prime-time audience of 31 million, topping Summer Games viewerships in Beijing and in Athens in 2004.

Sunday’s closing ceremony was seen by 31 million viewers.

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