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Business

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Briefs

Stewart deal off to mediation

A New York State Supreme Court judge has ordered Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living into mediation in a bid to resolve a dispute over a partnership with the Martha Stewart brand.

The development Thursday comes as the companies were wrapping up the third week of a trial over whether Macy’s has the exclusive rights to sell some Martha Stewart-branded merchandise, including bedding, cookware and bath items.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. sued New York-based Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. for allegedly breaching their long-standing contract when it signed a deal with J.C. Penney Co. in December 2011.

Wal-Mart exec known as reinventor to leave

Leslie Dach, who had played an influential role in reinventing the image of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the face of mounting attacks by labor groups and other critics, is leaving the company in June after seven years.

The world’s largest retailer said Friday it has an active search under way to replace Dach.

Dach, 58 joined Wal-Mart in August 2006 as executive vice president of corporate affairs, a newly created position, as anti-Wal-Mart attacks reached a feverish pitch on all fronts, from how it treats its workers to how it hasn’t taken enough responsibility for its environmental actions. The company’s shares fell 20 percent from early 2005 to an eight-year low of $42 two years later.

Shares are now trading at $73, the high point of its 52-week range of $57.18 to $77.60.

BP sees rising costs from spill settlement

BP is warning investors that the price tag will be significantly higher than it initially estimated for its multibillion-dollar settlement with businesses and residents who claim they were affected by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based oil giant estimated last year that it would spend roughly $7.8 billion to resolve tens of thousands of claims covered by the settlement agreement.

But in a regulatory filing this week, BP PLC said businesses’ claims have been paid at much higher average amounts than it had anticipated.

Wholesalers increase inventories 1.2 percent

U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in January by the largest amount in 13 months even though their sales dropped sharply.

Inventories at the wholesale level rose 1.2 percent in January compared with December when inventories had edged up a slight 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday.

It was the biggest gain since a similar increase in December 2011.

Sales at the wholesale level dropped 0.8 percent after being flat in December.

BMW regains lead in luxury line over Audi

BMW regained the top spot in luxury auto sales from Audi last month on demand for the 3-Series and X1 SUV, while the Mercedes-Benz brand fell further behind its German rivals.

Deliveries at the BMW brand, the world’s biggest luxury carmaker since 2005, rose 7 percent in February, beating the 3.2 percent gain posted by Volkswagen’s Audi.

BMW’s bigger increase helped propel it back into the sales lead for the year, with the Munich-based automaker delivering 407 more cars than Audi in the first two months.

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