RETAIL

Dressbarn reveals timeline

for shutdown of 650 stores

Dressbarn says it expects to have all its 650 stores closed in the first half of 2020.

The women's clothing chain announced earlier this week that it was shutting all its stores but hadn't given a timeline for the closures until Thursday.

Dressbarn's owner, Ascena Retail Group Inc., has said it wants to focus on its other brands, such as Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant. An executive said Dressbarn wasn't profitable enough.

Ascena said in a regulatory filing that it couldn't yet determine how much Dressbarn's closure would cost the Mahwah, New Jersey, company.

Dressbarn, which has been selling women's clothing for nearly 60 years, employs about 6,800 people.

AMUSEMENTS

Theme park attendance

surpasses 500 million

Worldwide attendance at the 10 biggest operators of amusement parks increased 4% last year and crossed the half-billion-visitors mark for the first time, according to an industry report released this week.

The report by the Themed Entertainment Association and the Economics Practice at AECOM said global attendance at water parks increased by 2.5%, and the top museums had relatively flat attendance last year.

The report said growth in North American parks was driven by the adaptation of strong intellectual properties into new attractions, such as a land based on the "Toy Story" franchise at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fake account removals

skyrocket at Facebook

Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said Thursday.

Nearly all of them were caught before they had a chance to become "active" users of the social network.

In a new report, Facebook said it saw a "steep increase" in the creation of abusive, fake accounts.

LENDING

Mortgage rates decline

for fourth week in row

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell slightly this week, marking a fourth straight week of declines to lure prospective purchasers in the spring homebuying season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 4.06% from 4.07% last week. By contrast, a year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.66%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans declined this week to 3.51% from 3.53% last week.

Applications for mortgage loans jumped 2.4% May 17 from a week earlier.