Retailers see solid finish thanks to holiday sales
NEW YORK — A firm stand on prices and a surge of last-minute holiday shoppers gave retailers a big present: modest December sales gains and healthy profits, a big improvement from last year's Christmas catastrophe.
Many retailers raised their fourth-quarter outlooks yesterday. A big reason why: Stores never had to resort to drastic price-cutting after keeping inventories lean.
The finish capped a rough year that saw the biggest sales decline in at least four decades, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
AMERICAN AIRLINES WOOS JAPAN CARRIER
DALLAS — American Airlines has dug deeper to save its relationship with Japan Airlines, raising the amount it is willing to invest in the ailing airline to $1.4 billion.
American upped its previous offer by $300 million in a bid to fend off Delta Air Lines Inc. Delta wants to create a partnership with the Japanese carrier that would operate across the Pacific and throughout Asia.
Delta and its SkyTeam partners have offered JAL $1 billion.
FED LOANS TO BANKS INCREASE SLIGHTLY
WASHINGTON — Banks borrowed slightly more from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending program over the past week but the amount was still well below levels reached during the height of the financial crisis, the Fed said yesterday.
Commercial banks averaged $19.45 billion in daily borrowing for the week that ended Wednesday. That was up from $18.74 billion in average borrowing for the previous week.
As financial conditions have improved, banks have scaled back their use of the Fed's emergency discount loan window.
AIG TOLD TO KEEP SILENT ON DEALS
WASHINGTON — Controversial deals that sent billions of bailout dollars to Goldman Sachs and other banks were kept quiet under pressure from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
E-mails between lawyers for the New York Fed and bailed-out insurance conglomerate American International Group Inc. show AIG wanted to disclose some details about payments it made to banks, including Goldman and Deutsche Bank, to cancel financial deals.
But lawyers for the New York Fed, which engineered AIG's bailout with the Bush administration's Treasury Department, told AIG to remove the information from a draft.