SAME-SEX HARASSMENT SUIT SETTLED: A Minnesota meat packing company and the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission have agreed to a $1.9-million settlement in the first male-on-male sex harassment lawsuit to receive class-action status. Long Prairie Packing Co. Inc. settled the lawsuit filed on behalf of workers who alleged they were subject to repeated verbal and physical harassment by co-workers. Long Prairie is 104 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Few details beyond the settlement's total were disclosed, and the company admitted no wrongdoing in Wednesday's consent decree.
HOME DEPOT TO BEAT EARNINGS ESTIMATES: Home Depot Inc. said fiscal second-quarter profit will beat analysts' forecasts as home resales lifted revenue more than expected. The Atlanta home-improvement company expects to report 44 cents a share for the quarter ended Aug. 1, more than analysts' estimate of 39 cents. Home Depot will release earnings Tuesday.
BACKERS LINE UP FOR BET.COM: Four companies, including USA Networks Inc., committed a combined $35-million to back BET.com, an Internet commerce and content portal that will cater to African-Americans. The portal is being created by BET Holdings, the Washington-based cable TV and publishing company. Other backers are Microsoft Corp., Liberty Digital LLC and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
WAL-MART TO APPEAL OVERTIME RULING: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to ask a federal court to review a U.S. District Court judge's ruling that it is liable for unspecified damages for withholding overtime pay from its pharmacists. In a summary judgment issued last week, Judge Zita Weinshienk agreed with an earlier recommendation that Wal-Mart violated federal labor laws by classifying its pharmacists as salaried, rather than hourly, workers. The workers, in two class-action suits covering 1,100 current and former employees, alleged the retailer also cut base hours and docked the pay of some pharmacists when business was slow. Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimated a year ago that Wal-Mart could be liable for $70-million in back pay, damages and interest.
BARNEY LICENSER LOSES IN COURT: A federal judge has ruled against Lyons Partnership, which licenses Barney products, in its attempt to stop a costume company from renting and selling purple, Barneylike animal costumes under different names. U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen ruled that a Duffy the Dragon costume did not infringe on Barney's copyright but two other costumes did because they were more similar to Barney. But he said Morris Costumes didn't infringe willfully, so Lyons couldn't collect damages in its 1997 lawsuit. Lyons sought an injunction preventing Morris Costumes from renting or selling the costumes, as well as $300,000 for infringement of its copyright.
TREASURY AUCTION: Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds rose in Thursday's auction. The yield was 6.144 percent, up from 5.298 percent at the last auction Feb. 11. The bonds will carry a coupon interest rate of 6[ percent. A total of $10-billion in bonds were sold out of bids totaling $22.2-billion.
The Gap Inc.
Fiscal second-quarter income rose 43 percent in the quarter ended July 31 as the San Francisco retailer's Old Navy chain drew more shoppers with its popular low-price shirts and pants. Old Navy, which offers inexpensive clothing, backpacks and shoes for kids and adults, is leading the company as sales slow at the original Gap stores, analysts said.
2ndQtr Year Ago
Revenue $2.45-bil $1.9-bil
Net Income $195.8-mil $136.9-mil
Per Share 22 cents 15 cents
The nation's third-largest retailer reported a loss for the quarter ended July 29, but that includes the effect of a $230-million charge related to the bankruptcy of Builders Square. On an operating basis, income jumped 44 percent for the Troy, Mich., company thanks to stronger sales at its discount department stores.
2ndQtr Year Ago
Revenue $8.8-bil $8.1-bil
Net Income -$96-mil $80-mil
Per Share -15 cents 16 cents