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Coldwater Creek lowers earnings

Sandpoint clothing retailer Coldwater Creek lowered its earnings estimate for the fourth quarter, now forecasting a loss of 18 cents to 24 cents per share. Earlier, the company had predicted a loss of 13 cents to 21 cents per share.

During the fourth quarter of 2010 the company saw a loss of 40 cents per share.

In an update to its fourth-quarter guidance, Coldwater Creek CEO Dennis Pence said the women’s apparel retailer saw softer-than-expected sales in late December, including post-Christmas sales.

The company’s fiscal year and quarter ends Jan. 28. It reports year-end results on March 7.

Pence said sales at the company’s premium stores during the last nine months of 2011 were 26 percent lower than during the same period the previous year.

Citing what he says is a company turnaround, Pence said the fourth quarter’s comparable 9 percent decline in sales is a step in the right direction and reflects better management of inventory and expenses. The company said it expects to reduce expenses for the fiscal year by $20 million to $25 million.

Tom Sowa

Bing finishes second to Google in volume

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft Corp. has finally reached a long-sought and expensive goal – its Bing search engine now ranks second behind Google in the Internet’s most lucrative market.

Bing and Microsoft’s other websites fielded 2.75 billion search requests in the U.S. during December, catapulting in front of Yahoo Inc. for the first time in the jockeying for runner up to Google Inc., according to statistics released Wednesday by comScore Inc.

Bing’s December volume translated into a 15.1 percent share of the U.S. search traffic, comScore said. Yahoo processed 2.65 billion search requests, representing 14.5 percent of the U.S. market.

Google remained Internet’s go-to place for information, with 12 billion U.S. requests in December. That works out to a 65.9 percent market share.

Associated Press

Coors Light passes Bud for No. 2 beer spot

ST. LOUIS – After years of gaining ground, The Silver Bullet has finally caught the King.

Coors Light outsold Budweiser last year to become the nation’s second most popular brew after Bud Light, according to estimates by an industry trade publication.

Beer Marketer’s Insights reported this week that Anheuser-Busch InBev sold 17.7 million barrels of its flagship lager in the U.S., less than the 18.2 million barrels that beer drinkers bought of Coors Light. It marks the first time in nearly two decades that A-B hasn’t claimed the two top spots on sales charts.

Coors Light’s gain was small – just 0.8 percent – but that was enough for it to finally top Budweiser.

Associated Press

Ford recalls thousands of minivans, SUVS

DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that it’s recalling nearly half a million minivans and SUVs because of a pair of mechanical issues.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker is recalling 205,896 Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans made during the 2004 and 2005 model years, because their torque converter output shaft may fail. If that happens, there could be a sudden loss of power that could cause a crash, Ford said.

Ford is also recalling 244,530 Escape SUVs made during the 2001 and 2002 model years, because their brake master cylinder reservoir cap could leak brake fluid. If the fluid leaks, it could corrode electrical connectors in the vehicle’s breaking system and lead to melting, smoke, or a fire, Ford said.

Ford said that with both recalls, it will inform the affected owners, and dealers will replace the parts for free.

In the case of the Escape, Ford said it will begin notifying owners the week of Jan. 23, but because of a parts delay, Ford said it may not be able to fix some of the vehicles right away.

In those cases, Ford said it will tell owners to park their SUVs outside until the parts become available and the vehicles can be fixed.

Associated Press