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Business Briefs

Roundup: J.C. Penney, Macy's plan to close stores, none in Pittsburgh; Dick's recalls inversion table; more

| Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Coca-Cola on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, said it's cutting between 1,600 and 1,800 jobs globally as part of an ongoing push to trim costs.
Coca-Cola on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, said it's cutting between 1,600 and 1,800 jobs globally as part of an ongoing push to trim costs.
2013 Subaru Forester
2013 Subaru Forester

J.C. Penney to close 39 stores nationwide; none in region

J.C. Penney Co. will close 39 stores across the country over the next year to cut costs, but none of the 10 stores in the Pittsburgh area is among them.

Pennsylvania was hit hardest of the 19 states with stores scheduled to be closed — with five on the list. A year ago, Penney announced the closing of 33 stores, including one in the Washington Mall in Washington County.

“We continually evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there's a need to close or relocate underperforming stores,” spokesman Joey Thomas wrote in an email. The closings will affect 2,250 employees, Thomas said.

The announcement was made Thursday, two days after J.C. Penney reported a rise in sales during the critical holiday shopping season, an encouraging sign as the company tries to recover from a botched plan to reinvent itself under former CEO Ron Johnson. It has tapped a new CEO, former Home Depot executive Marvin Ellison, who will replace CEO Mike Ullman in August. Ullman, who retired from the top job in 2011, was rehired as CEO in April 2013.

Macy's plans to restructure merchandising, marketing

Macy's plans to restructure its merchandising and marketing operations in response to changes in the way customers shop in stores and online, saying it's even contemplating an off-price business that would be similar to TJ Maxx's.

Macy's said Thursday it will close 14 department stores — none of them in the Pittsburgh area — but will open two new locations, resulting in annual savings of roughly $140 million. The retailer said it plans to reinvest those savings into its business.

It says its overall workforce of about 175,000 will remain level as it lays off about 2,200 workers nationwide but picks up staffing in other areas.

Macy's has been a standout among its peers throughout the economic recovery and has reaped the benefits of its strategy of tailoring merchandise to local markets. But like other chains, it's grappling with a still-cautious consumer. And it's trying to respond to the fact that shoppers more often are buying and researching before shopping on their computers, smartphones and tablets.

Dick's recalls inversion table

Dick's Sporting Goods has recalled an inversion table in response to customer complaints of injuries suffered while using the product.

The Findlay-based sporting goods retailer is offering full refunds, in the form of a store gift card, to anyone who purchased the Fitness Gear Inversion Table in Dick's stores or online between November 2011 and September 2014.

The company said customers have fallen and sustained injuries when the ankle locking systems were not engaged.

Subaru recalls 199K vehicles to fix brake line rust

Subaru is recalling about 199,000 cars and SUVs for a second time to fix rusty brake lines that can leak fluid and cause longer stopping distances.

The recall covers the 2009 through 2013 Forester, 2008 through 2011 Impreza and the 2008 through 2014 WRX and WRX-STI models. It affects vehicles in 20 U.S. cold-weather states and Washington, D.C., including Pennsylvania, where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.

Subaru says in documents posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that salty water can splash on the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector. That can cause rust and leaks.

A recall from last year for the same problem didn't work because incomplete repair instructions were given to dealers.

Coca-Cola announces layoffs

Coca-Cola said it will cut between 1,600 and 1,800 jobs in coming months to trim costs. The world's biggest beverage maker has about 130,600 employees around the world.

In an emailed statement Thursday, Coca-Cola said it will “continuously look for ways to streamline our business,” suggesting additional cuts could be announced.

Coca-Cola Co. and rival PepsiCo Inc. have been looking for ways to cut costs as their soda businesses have flagged in North America.

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