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Costco revenues fall short of forecasts

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Costco Wholesale Corp.’s revenue from established stores rose 4 percent in March, but that was short of Wall Street expectations.

The Issaquah, Wash., company said changes in gas prices and foreign exchange rates hurt revenue from stores open at least a year for the five-week period that ended April 7.

Analysts expected, on average, that revenue from stores open at least a year would rise 5.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Verizon to stop offering early phone upgrades

NEW YORK – Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest cellphone carrier, on Friday said that it is extending the time it takes to earn a subsidized phone upgrade from 20 months on contract to 24 months.

In a statement on its website, Verizon said the move aligns its policy with the typical length of a phone contract and with the way people buy new phones. The change takes effect with contracts expiring in January.

The change also reflects the growing popularity of expensive phones. Verizon subsidized upgrades after just 13 months until January 2011, when it introduced the 20-month period just before it started selling the iPhone, one of the most expensive smartphones.

McDonald’s gives CEOs super-sized payouts

NEW YORK – McDonald’s Corp. more than tripled the pay packages last year for its new CEO Don Thompson and the man he replaced, Jim Skinner.

The pay increases from the world’s biggest hamburger chain came during a tough time for the industry.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Ill., gave Thompson a package worth $13.8 million, up from the $4.1 million he received in 2011, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Skinner’s pay package went up to $27.7 million from $8.8 million the year before, reflecting a $10.2 million payment as part of his retirement under his contract agreement.

Justice Department to name fewer publicly

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is changing its practice of publicly naming some business executives who haven’t been charged criminally in price-fixing and bid-rigging cases that harm consumers.

Business long has contended that the practice is unfair.

For more than a decade, corporate plea agreements have publicly identified four categories of employees. One is those believed to have engaged in wrongdoing. The second is those who refuse to cooperate. The third is those the government is developing evidence against. And the fourth is those with potentially relevant information who can’t be located.

Under the new policy, names of those believed to have engaged in wrongdoing will be filed in court only under seal. Those in the other categories won’t be named.

DreamWorks purchases Trolls brand before film

GLENDALE, Calif. – DreamWorks Animation says it has bought the Troll brand from Denmark’s Dam Things and plans to grow the iconic toy franchise worldwide.

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. also said Thursday that it has hired Shawn Dennis, previously a senior vice president at doll company American Girl, to oversee the Trolls franchise and other businesses.

DreamWorks has previously said it is planning a Trolls film for 2015.


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