OPERATIONS

Report: Consumer confidence rises to match four-year high

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg showed that household confidence improved last week to match the highest level in four years.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 31.4 in the period ended April 15, compared with minus 32.8 over the previous seven days. The reading equaled that from two weeks earlier as the best since March 2008.

Despite the strong showing, the monthly expectations measure fell from a one-year high, showing ongoing concerns that too many Americans are still unemployed.

“The uneven nature of the recovery will likely continue to restrain the type of improvement in consumer sentiment that one would traditionally observe at this point in the expansionary cycle,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.

Jobless applications fell by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ended April 14 from a revised 388,000 the prior period that was higher than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 370,000.

The positive news comes on the heels of this week’s announcements that retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.8% in March. The gain was almost three times as large as projected by the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 1% advance in February.

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FINANCE

CVS to settle hazardous waste claims for nearly $14 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Ventura, Calif. — A Ventura, Calif., judge on Wednesday approved a settlement that forces CVS Caremark Corp. to pay $13.75 million to settle California claims that it illegally disposed of hazardous waste at California stores.

CVS came under investigation in 2010 after allegations were made that the drugstore chain had mishandled medical, pharmaceutical and photographic waste at California stores over a seven-year period.

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OPERATIONS

Best Buy interim chief: ‘I’ll work on a long-term vision’

BY Staff Writer

Minneapolis — In a video released by Best Buy and reported by Bloomberg, Best Buy Co. interim CEO Mike Mikan told employees on Thursday that his No. 1 priority in his new role is to execute the changes the company announced last month and plan a new direction for the retailer.

“In the days and weeks ahead, I’ll be working with our leadership team on a long-term vision, a path toward the future that will connect Best Buy with customers across multiple channels while improving performance,” Mikan said.

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