U.S. wholesalers increased their inventories in July from June, but sales fell for a third straight month. Declining sales could force companies to cut inventories in coming months, a troubling sign that economic growth could weaken. The Commerce Department said stockpiles grew 0.7 percent in July, the biggest increase in five months.
After wrapping up a decent back-to-school shopping season, merchants should see healthy sales gains for the winter holidays, although the pace could be slightly below last year, Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak said. It predicts revenue in November and December should be up 3.3 percent during what’s traditionally the biggest shopping period of the year.
Hobby Lobby sues
over birth control
Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., which operates outlets in Utah, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation’s health care law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. The lawsuit claims the mandate is forcing company’s owners “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.”
natural gas assets
Chesapeake Energy Corp. is selling the vast portion of its land and infrastructure in west Texas for nearly $7 billion as the company unloads debt and shifts more of its focus to drilling for oil, rather than natural gas. The assets in the oil-and gas-rich Permian Basin are being sold in a series of deals to Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and affiliates of EnerVest Ltd.
Dish Network to
carry Glen Beck
Dish Network will begin offering TheBlaze, conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck’s online network. TheBlaze will be available to Dish subscribers as part of its America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. It will be offered as a free preview for all Dish customers through Sept. 26.
Germany’s highest court paved the way for the creation of Europe’s $640 billion rescue fund for indebted governments after it rejected calls to block it. The decision allows Germany to sign off on ratification of the treaty that sets up the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund — a weapon that many hope will help calm the debt crisis that threatens the eurozone.
Farm pulls its
A southwestern Indiana farm linked to a cantaloupe salmonella outbreak that killed two people has pulled its watermelons from market after the food-borne illness was found on one of those fruits. Chamberlain Farm Produce of Owensville says it’s cooperating with state and federal food safety officials and is unaware of anyone becoming ill from melons.