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IN BRIEF

ATLANTIC CITY

March casino revenue dips in Atlantic City

So much for a winning streak.

After a momentary foray back into the black in February, revenue from the city’s 11 casinos was way back down in March.

Figures released Thursday by the state Casino Control Commission show that the gambling halls took in $395 million, down 9.9 percent from March 2007. Every casino in the city reported a decline last month.

The casinos won $277.3 million at the slot machines, down 11.2 percent, while table games revenue brought in $117.7 million, down 6.6 percent.

HARRISBURG, Pa.

Rite Aid’s quarterly loss: $960.4 million

Rite Aid Corp., the nation’s third-biggest drugstore chain, reported Thursday that it lost $960.4 million in its fourth quarter, mostly the result of a noncash income tax charge, as it worked to absorb more than 1,800 stores acquired last year.

Rite Aid blamed a tough economy and spending to integrate the 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd stores it acquired last June in an effort to keep pace with its larger rivals, Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp.

The loss for the Camp Hill, Pa.-based company amounts to $1.20 per share for the three months ended March 1. It earned $7.1 million, or a penny a share, in last year’s fourth quarter.

Not counting the $894.9 million noncash income tax charge, Rite Aid said it would have lost $65.5 million, or 8 cents a share in the latest period. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who typically exclude one-time charges from their estimates, had expected a loss of 7 cents a share.

Revenue rose 50 percent to $6.82 billion from $4.53 billion a year earlier, primarily due to last year’s acquisition.

Xerox agrees to pay $12 million settlement

Xerox Corp., the world’s largest maker of high-speed color printers, agreed to pay $12 million to settle a 2001 lawsuit by black salespeople who alleged racial discrimination.

The company settled the class action lawsuit with about 1,300 current and former salespeople, spokesman Michael Moeller said in an e-mail. Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox denied any wrongdoing and said the settlement amount will be paid out of funds it set aside in the second quarter of 2006.

The May 2001 lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., by six black sales representatives from New York, California, Texas and Georgia and sought class action status for hundreds of other Xerox workers. The lawsuit claimed the employees were assigned to sales territories in low-income and minority neighborhoods, denied sales commissions and passed over for promotions to better assignments.

Sharper Image chief may buy company

Sharper Image Corp., the bankrupt seller of massage chairs and $300 shavers, said Chairman Jerry Levin will resign and may offer to buy the company.

Levin told the company he is interested in joining with other investors to purchase some or all of it, San Francisco- based Sharper Image said in a statement.

The 31-year-old retailer filed for bankruptcy Feb. 19 with plans to shut about half its 184 stores after losing money in 11 of the last 13 quarters. Sharper Image has lost more than $135 million since early 2005 on bad publicity stemming from lawsuits over its Ionic Breeze air purifiers and “ever-tightening” credit markets, the company said in February.

Lehman Bros. exits short-term debt funds

Lehman Bros. Holdings bailed out five of its short-term debt funds, joining a growing list of securities firms and asset managers that have propped up investment vehicles crippled by frozen credit markets.

Lehman took $1.8 billion of assets from the funds onto its books, the New York-based firm said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday. The company recorded a $300 million loss from the bailout in the first-quarter, according to a person familiar with the writedown.

WAILUKU, Hawaii

Hawaii first to the fore, and 4 (bucks) at pump

The average price of regular gasoline on Maui island has reached a record $4 a gallon.

Wailuku is the first area in the nation tracked by AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report to hit the $4 mark. In the remote coastal town of Hana, the price is around $4.55 a gallon.

Maui’s average is up about half a cent from Wednesday, 5.7 cents from a month ago and about 74 cents from a year ago.

The state’s average stands at $3.67, about a penny shy of the record high set in September 2005. California leads the nation with an average of $3.75.

The national average price of gasoline climbed 1.4 cents overnight to a record just under $3.36 a gallon.

NEW YORK

Treasury prices decline after Fed chief speaks

Treasury prices fell Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said regulators should take steps to stave off future financial troubles and as weekly unemployment claims fell.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 0.34 points to 99.78 with a yield of 3.53 percent, up from 3.48 percent late Wednesday, according to BGCantor Market Data. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 30-year long bond fell 0.31 points to 100.50 with a yield of 4.34 percent, up from 4.32 percent.

 

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