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Business news — Compiled Dec. 30


Netflix testing new prices

Netflix Inc., the largest subscription streaming service, is testing new prices based on the number of people who can use an account.

Netflix is offering some new customers plans that provide access on as many as four screens, letting family members watch different shows at the same time. The monthly prices range from $6.99 to $11.99, according to an offer posted on the company’s website.

If successful, the pricing plans could be expanded to more customers. The test could also provide a way for Netflix, with more than 40 million subscribers, to curb account sharing while providing viewers with more ways to watch, just as cable TV operators rent set-stop boxes for additional rooms.

The standard Netflix streaming service costs $7.99 a month, according to the company. The DVD by mail service starts at $7.99 for one disc at a time.


Label omits peanuts

Giant Eagle has recalled Candy Place Chocolate Santas because they do not list peanuts as an ingredient.

The individual peanut butter-filled candies say “peanut butter” on the label, but don’t list peanuts in the ingredients. It could cause a serious reaction if consumed by someone who is allergic to peanuts.

The product is safe for those who do not have a peanut allergy.

The affected product was sold in 11-ounce packages with the UPC code 3003407341, and included chocolate, caramel and peanut butter varieties. The product was purchased by approximately 1,100 customers in Giant Eagle supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland since Oct. 1.

No illnesses have been reported. Consumers may return the product to any Giant Eagle for a full refund. Those with questions may call George J. Howe Co., the manufacturer, at 800-367-4693 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or may leave a voice mail at other hours.

Giant Eagle also has been contacting consumers who purchased the candy.


Ford eyes 2013 title

Ford has sold more than 2.4 million vehicles in 2013 and expects to retain its best-selling title in North America in 2013 over Toyota.

The automaker expects to widen its lead with record sales of the Fusion, Escape and Fiesta, strong demand for the Focus and a tripling of hybrid sales in 2013. Ford also has the single-best selling vehicle in the U.S. with the F-Series pickup, sales of which will easily exceed 700,000 this year, boosted by an improving economy with more housing starts and increased commercial construction.

In 2012, customers bought 329,677 more Fords than Toyotas. While December sales are not released until Friday, Ford expects a much bigger lead. Through November, the Ford brand had sold 396,041 more vehicles than Toyota.


Cracker Barrel rejects bid

Cracker Barrel says it won’t consider selling itself, rejecting a push from its biggest shareholder.

The company said Monday that it will continue pursuing its own business strategies.

Last week shareholder Sardar Biglari said he was willing to make a bid for the company and urged it to consider selling itself.

Biglari, through his investment firm Biglari Holdings Inc., owns nearly 20 percent of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.’s shares. He has tried and failed multiple times to win a seat on the board. Shareholders also recently rejected his proposal for a $20-per-share special dividend.

Shares of Cracker Barrel lost $1.06 to $110.20 on Monday. The stock is up 72 percent in 2013.


Home sales stabilize

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes in November was essentially unchanged from October, suggesting sales are stabilizing after several months of declines.

Higher mortgage rates and strong price gains over the past two years have slowed sales. The pending home sales index had fallen for five straight months before November. And completed sales of existing homes fell for three straight months, the National Association of Realtors said earlier this month.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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