Business Briefs – November 13, 2016

Penney’s Reports 3Q Sales Shortfall, Cuts Outlook

NEW YORK (AP) – J.C. Penney cut its sales outlook for the year after reporting a surprise decline in a key sales figure for the third quarter as it wrestled with sluggish clothing sales.

The report is a setback for Penney, whose business has been volatile, bouncing back in the summer after a tough start to the year.

Like other department stores, J.C. Penney is trying to adjust to changing shopping patterns. Consumers are shifting their spending away from clothing and toward experiences like beauty treatments or toward furnishing their home. And when they do pick up clothing, it’s more often at off-price stores or online as Amazon moves more into apparel.

Given the environment, Penney wants to be less dependent on clothing, and is focusing its efforts on its home area and rolling out major appliances in it stores.

Senate GOP Leader Says He Asked Trump to Back Keystone

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The Senate’s top Republican said Friday he asked President-elect Donald Trump to move swiftly in approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has drawn strong opposition from environmentalists.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters he made the request during his Capitol Hill meeting with Trump a day earlier.

Trump listed the stalled Keystone project among his top priorities for the first 100 days of his administration.

Obama rejected the proposed pipeline last November, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal at the center of his environmental legacy. The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Houston area, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Computer Outage Briefly Grounds Flights on Several Airlines

DALLAS (AP) – Travelers on several airlines had trouble checking in for flights and waited out delays Friday after a computer outage at a company that runs airline technology systems.

American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines confirmed that a technology glitch briefly interrupted their operations.

The airlines blamed their difficulties on a breakdown in systems operated by Sabre Corp., a Texas company that provides software and other technology services to airlines and hotels.

A Sabre spokeswoman said the systems were running again by early Friday afternoon.

Pfizer Lowers Cost Of Prevnar Vaccine For Some Charity Use

WASHINGTON (AP) – Drugmaker Pfizer says it’s reducing what it charges humanitarian groups for its blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia, ear and blood infections.

Pfizer Inc.’s move to reduce Prevnar 13’s price to $3.10 per dose — but only for the groups’ use with refugees and in other emergency settings — follows pressure since 2009 by groups such as Doctors Without Borders.

The biggest U.S. drugmaker previously preferred tax-deductible donations, which don’t impact Prevnar’s much-higher price. Pfizer’s top-selling product, which requires three doses, brings it some $5 billion a year.

After Election, Are People Ready to Think About Shopping?

NEW YORK (AP) – The uncertainty about who will be the next U.S. president is over. But with people still bitterly divided, are they ready to think about a year-end shopping season that thrives on feelings of joy and peace?

Reports from retailers, including department stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, showed that shoppers had been starting to step up their spending in the weeks leading up to the election won by Republican Donald Trump. Companies are generally optimistic about a good season, noting higher wages for workers and leaner inventories.