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RETAIL

Home Depot hiring for spring

Home Depot is on a hiring spree. The nation’s largest home improvement chain, based in Atlanta, said Wednesday it is hiring more than 80,000 workers nationwide for its busy spring season, the same level as in recent years. The retailer estimates that more than half of the temporary workers stay on for permanent employment. The part-time and full-time jobs include sales, operations, and cashier positions across all departments in stores as well as jobs at its distribution centers. The hiring comes as Home Depot has been benefiting from shoppers’ increasing shift to renovate their homes in a housing market that has been solid. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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ECONOMY

US Job numbers offer optimism

US businesses added a solid 205,000 jobs last month, lifted by robust gains in services and construction and extending a streak of steady hiring, according to a private survey. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that financial services, retailers, and professional services firms also hired at a steady pace. The figures suggest that companies focused on the domestic economy remain healthy, despite gyrations in the financial markets and slowing global growth. Manufacturers have suffered from the strong dollar, which makes US goods more expensive overseas, and did not add any jobs last month. The data comes just two days before the government’s official jobs report for January. Economists forecast that report will show employers added 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained 5 percent. The ADP survey covers only private businesses and frequently diverges from the official figures. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

SUPERMARKETS

Budget airline founder offers budget groceries

The founder of budget airline EasyJet has stepped into Britain’s grocery aisle. Stelios Haji-Ioannou has opened a discount grocery in northwest London, called EasyFood, offering canned sardines, soups, and pasta for a mere 36 cents — for a limited time only. Prices will go up on the ‘‘limited and basic’’ range after a month. No fresh produce will be offered at the store, whose motto is ‘‘No expensive brands. Just food honestly priced.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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RETAIL

Amazon looks to open more brick-and-mortar stores

Amazon signs may be headed to more physical storefronts. The Internet retailer plans to open more brick-and-mortar bookstores following the unveiling last year of one such location in its hometown of Seattle, according to a person briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans. But the company’s plans for physical stores are modest, this person said, especially in comparison with reports of an expansion suggested by an unusual source, the chief of a large shopping mall operator. Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of mall operator General Growth Properties, was answering questions from analysts Tuesday about foot traffic in shopping malls when he said, of Amazon’s bookstore plans, “Their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores,” according to a recording of the call. — NEW YORK TIMES

AUTOMOTIVE

Big profit for GM means big bonuses for workers

If you’re an automaker, especially one from Detroit, conditions probably aren’t going to be better for you to make a lot of cash. For General Motors, that’s what happened last year as the company posted a record $9.7 billion net profit. Yes, a good chunk of that was a $3.9 billion one-time accounting gain due to better prospects in Europe, but the company still made billions on booming sales of its strong lineup of SUVs and trucks, mainly in North America. Earnings were so strong that most of GM’s 49,600 hourly workers will get $11,000 profit-sharing checks on Feb. 26. The checks were based on North American pretax earnings, which hit a record of just over $11 billion for the year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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AUTOMOTIVE

Jack danger prompts recall of Dodge Chargers

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than a half-million Dodge Chargers worldwide because they can slip off of a jack when tires are being changed. The recall covers Chargers from the 2011 to 2016 model years and includes almost 442,000 cars in the United States. The company says the body beneath the doors can become deformed during jack use, making the cars unstable. Fiat Chrysler is doing the recall because an analysis of warranty claims showed that they could fall from jacks. The company says it knows of three minor injuries from the problem. Fiat Chrysler will provide wheel chocks free of charge to keep the cars stable during jacking. Customers will be notified when they can get the chocks. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINANCE

Wells Fargo lending practices leave it with $1.2b bill

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle claims that it engaged in reckless lending under a Federal Housing Administration program that left a government insurance fund to clean up the mess. The bank, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, has been in talks with the government since 2012 over accusations that it improperly classified some FHA loans as qualifying for federal insurance when they did not, and that it knew of the misclassification but failed to inform housing regulators about the deficiencies before filing insurance claims. Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, had been a holdout among large lenders. Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase previously settled similar claims. It was one of several lawsuits brought after the financial crisis that accused banks of shoddy lending practices. FHA-backed loans are typically made to first-time home buyers and those with lower incomes. — NEW YORK TIMES

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SERVICE INDUSTRIES

Weaker numbers may reflect cautious spending

Service industries expanded in January at the slowest pace in nearly two years, raising the risk that persistent weakness in manufacturing is starting to creep into the rest of the US economy. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index fell last month to 53.5, the lowest since February 2014, from 55.8, the Tempe, Ariz.-based group’s report showed on Wednesday. Readings above 50 signal expansion. The result was less than the 55.1 median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The industries that account for about 90 percent of the economy may be adjusting expectations after consumers tempered spending and businesses cut back on investment in the fourth quarter. — BLOOMBERG

RETAIL

Deal to give Lowe’s bigger presence in Canada

The Canadian dollar’s loss is Lowe’s gain. After being rebuffed in its attempt to buy Quebec-based retailer Rona Inc. in 2012, Lowe’s Cos. reached agreement on Wednesday to buy it for C$3.2 billion ($2.3 billion). Two big changes in the past four years made the transaction possible: The Parti Quebecois, which opposed the original deal, is out of power, and the loonie fell to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a decade. The deal will add about 500 stores and $3 billion in sales to Lowe’s existing $1.1 billion business in Canada. One big perk for the world’s second-biggest home-improvement chain will be getting its first stores in Quebec, the nation’s second most-populous province. — BLOOMBERG

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