OPERATIONS

RadioShack CEO steps down

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack Corp. said CEO James Gooch has agreed to step down from his position, effective immediately. The company did not specify a reason for his departure. Gooch was appointed CEO in 2011 and has been working to boost stagnant sales.

RadioShack said its board is conducting a search for a successor and would not rule out internal candidates. In the interim, executive VP and CFO Dorvin Lively will serve as the acting CEO.

In July, RadioShack posted an unexpected second-quarter loss and suspended its dividend. The chain’s struggles are at least partly due to wider problems in the traditional consumer electronics industry.

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OPERATIONS

Judge grants class status to female employees suing Costco

BY Staff Writer

New York — A U.S. judge in San Francisco has certified a class-action lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp. that involved allegations of gender discrimination in the store’s promotion practices.

“Costco offers numerous competing explanations for the observed gender disparity in promotions,” U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said in the ruling, Bloomberg reported. “None of these explanations undermine the companywide nature of the challenged policies and their disparate effects.”

Costco was sued in 2004 for allegedly limiting promotions of female employees to assistant general manager and general manager by failing to post job openings, the report said. The company denies the claims.

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OPERATIONS

Consumer Confidence Index increases in September

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in August, improved in September to 70.3 — up from 61.3 in August.

The Expectations Index increased to 83.7 from 71.1. The Present Situation Index rose to 50.2 from 46.5 last month.

"The Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in September and is back to levels seen earlier this year (71.6 in February 2012),” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers were more positive in their assessment of current conditions, in particular the job market, and considerably more optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, employment and their financial situation. Despite continuing economic uncertainty, consumers are slightly more optimistic than they have been in several months."

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in September. Those claiming business conditions are "good" edged up to 15.5% from 15.3%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" declined to 33.3% from 34.3%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more upbeat. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" rose to 8.3% from 7.2%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" edged down to 39.9% from 40.6%.

Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook in September. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.2% from 16.7%, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 13.8% from 17.6%. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more favorable. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.5% from 15.8%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 18.5% from 23.7%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes edged up to 16.3% from 16.0%.

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