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Business briefs: Soft drink sales decline at faster pace

Tue., April 1, 2014

NEW YORK – Americans cut back on soda at an accelerated pace last year, extending a slow retreat from the category that began nearly a decade ago.

U.S. sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 3 percent in 2013, according to a report released Monday by Beverage Digest, an industry tracker. That represents a steeper drop than the 1.2 percent decline in 2012 and brings total soda volume to the lowest level since 1995.

While carbonated soft drinks still represent the biggest category in the beverage industry, alternatives such as energy drinks and flavored waters have slowly chipped away at the popularity of longtime favorites like Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper.

Amtrak rescheduling Empire Builder train

KALISPELL – Amtrak officials said the company is changing the schedules of its Empire Builder passenger train because of congestion from increasing oil freight along the line.

The Empire Builder runs daily between Chicago, Seattle and Portland, passing through Glacier National Park. In recent months, it has been consistently late because of freight traffic, particularly trains from the Bakken oil region.

Freight derailments on the line and avalanches also have contributed to the delays.

Eastbound trains from Seattle and Portland will depart three hours earlier, at 1:40 p.m., starting April 15. Westbound trains will run more than an hour later than they usually do.

Empire Builder route director Jim Brzezinski said Amtrak hopes to return the passenger train to its normal schedule in June.

Eurozone now worrying about deflation threat

BRUSSELS – After breaking out of recession and taming its financial crisis, Europe now faces a new kind of economic threat: deflation.

A protracted drop in prices could snuff out growth for years. And new data released Monday showed the inflation rate fell in March to its lowest level since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, a sign of economic weakness that piles fresh pressure on the European Central Bank to further ease its monetary policies this week.

The steady decline, the third in as many months, raises concerns that consumer prices may start to fall outright, creating a downward spiral that chokes off economic growth.

Macy’s names Gennette new company president

CINCINNATI – Macy’s Inc. has elected its chief merchandising officer as president of the company, giving him additional oversight over marketing and the department store chain’s online business.

Macy’s said Monday that Jeffrey Gennette will also oversee Macy’s private brands like INC.

Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and CEO, previously handled the duties of president as well.


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