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Business news briefs — July 9


Social media workshop July 23

Social media for businesses will be the focus of an upcoming free morning workshop July 23 at the John S. Knight Convention Center in downtown Akron.

Social Media — What to Say & How to Say It will run from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the center, 77 E. Mill St.

The event is the first in the bureau’s new Partnerships in Motion — The Workshop Series.

Presenters will be Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center; Pete Radke, interactive media specialist at Akron’s Hitchcock Fleming & Associates; Kristie VanAuken, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Akron-Canton Airport; and Joe Giessler, multimedia marketing coordinator for the state’s TourismOhio.

Reservations are required as breakfast will be served. RSVP to Jennifer Eckman at 330-374-7560 or

Natural gas price to drop

The monthly natural gas price for residential customers who have chosen Dominion’s Standard Choice Offer (SCO), or those who don’t choose their own supplier, will go down for July.

Effective July 15, the identical Standard Choice Offer (SCO) and Standard Service Offer (SSO) rate will be $4.18 per thousand cubic feet (mcf).

That’s 57 cents/mcf or 12 percent lower than June’s price of $4.75/mcf. The price is 81 cents/mcf or 24 percent higher than last summer’s low July rate of $3.37/mcf.

Under the new filing, the average SCO/SSO residential customer’s bill for the month of July will be $33.47, up 94 cents or 2.9 percent from $32.53 for July 2012.

Residential customers pay the same usage-based charges ($4.18/mcf to deliver gas to a residence) and $22.01 monthly service fee whether they choose a supplier or stay with Dominion.


Circle K results fall short

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the largest public convenience-store operator in North America, including Akron-area Circle K stores, said its adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter were 61 cents a share. That fell short of analysts’ forecasts for 78 cents a share. Sales came in at $8.78 billion, short of analysts’ estimates of $8.83 billion.

Couche-Tard has more than 3,500 stores in the United States, including 526 company-owned stores and 126 affiliated stores in what it calls its “Great Lakes Region” that includes Ohio. Most of the stores are branded Circle K. The company in 2002 purchased the former Dairy Mart convenience store chain — the successor to Lawson’s — and in 2006 bought Akron-based Holland Oil Co.

The company said the fourth quarter results are partly explained by “less favorable weather conditions in several of our markets, but especially by higher expenses in Europe.” The company said it paid restructuring costs of about $34 million in 2013 at Statoil Fuel & Retail, the former retail arm of the Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA acquired last year. Couche-Tard, which means “night owl” in French, said it found about $28 million in cost savings and synergies from the Statoil acquisition during fiscal 2013.

Walmart plans in jeopardy

Walmart says it won’t build three stores planned for the District of Columbia if lawmakers approve a bill forcing the retailer to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour. Walmart had been planning to build six stores in the nation’s capital. But the retailer will abandon plans for three if the bill gains final approval Wednesday from the D.C. Council. Walmart says the bill will also jeopardize three stores already under construction.


Dow goes up 75 points

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,300.34. The S&P 500 index gained 11 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,652.32 The Nasdaq composite rose 19 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,504.26

The S&P 500 has risen for four straight days, its best streak in almost two months. Gains were led by industrial firms and companies that provide raw materials. Telecommunications companies, which investors turn to when the economic outlook is gloomier, fell.

The S&P 500 is now just 1 percent below its May 21 record of 1,669. It was down almost 6 percent to 1,573 on June 24.

Oil rose 17 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $103.33 a barrel. Gold rose $12, or 1 percent, to $1,246.90.


Cliffs CEO Carrabba to leave

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., the Cleveland-based iron-ore producer, said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Carrabba will retire by the end of the year. James Kirsch, a Cliffs director, was appointed non-executive chairman.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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