NEW YORK – Safeway Inc. is selling its supermarket operations in Canada to food retailer Sobeys for $5.7 billion.
Sobeys, a unit of Empire Co. Ltd, is already the No. 2 grocery operator in the country. It said the deal includes 213 grocery stores under the Safeway banner in western Canada, 62 fuel stations, 10 liquor stores, 12 manufacturing facilities and four distribution centers.
That leaves Safeway with about 1,400 supermarkets in the U.S., many of which are in western states. The company, based in Pleasanton, Calif., operates stores under names including Vons in Southern California and Nevada and Randalls and Tom Thumb in Texas.
H&R Block falls short of forecasts for quarter
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – H&R Block Inc. said last-minute changes to tax laws, a delayed start to the filing season and new fraud controls created hurdles for the company in this year’s tax season.
The tax preparation company was able to cut costs to help offset weaker revenue stemming from these conditions, but it reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that fell short of market expectations.
H&R said after the market closed Wednesday that it earned $664.3 million, or $2.42 per share, for the quarter that ended April 30. That’s up from $586.1 million, or $1.99 per share, last year. It earned $2.54 per share, excluding one-time items.
Total revenue increased to $2.2 billion from $2 billion.
Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $2.61 per share, on revenue $2.28 billion, according to FactSet.
The company decided this year to increase its push for assisted and digital do-it-yourself categories as part of a long-term growth strategy.
H&R said the total number of U.S. returns it prepared fell 0.7 percent to 22.2 million through the end of the fiscal year.
Chrysler issues recall for heavy-duty pickups
DETROIT – Chrysler Group is recalling 6,900 heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks from the 2012 model year because part of the front axle could fracture and cause them to lose power.
The automaker said Wednesday that the front prop shaft, which connects the engine to the axle, can bind or fracture.
Chrysler investigated the issue after getting two reports of damage. The company said it doesn’t know of any accidents or injuries related to the defect.
The recall involves 5,600 Ram 4500 and 5500 trucks in the U.S. and 1,300 in Canada.
Chrysler will notify owners. Dealers will repair or replace the front axles for free.
Yahoo plans to release inactive email accounts
SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo is trying to breathe new life into inactive email accounts by giving away the identifications beginning next month.
The program announced Wednesday will give Web surfers an opportunity to claim a new handle that had previously been unavailable. It also represents a last chance for Yahoo users who haven’t logged in for at least a year to keep the address.
Yahoo Inc. plans to release the inactive accounts unless the current owner logs in again before July 15. After that, the identifications will be available to all comers and will be ready to use again in mid-August.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company isn’t specifying how many emails are in the dead pool. A Yahoo spokeswoman predicted a substantial number of IDs will be freed up.