Talking Points

A rebirth for Geoffrey and bumps in the road for Fiat, John Deere

Geoffrey the Giraffe has long been the symbol of Toys R Us.
Geoffrey the Giraffe has long been the symbol of Toys R Us.Associated Press


First revamped Toys “R” Us opens in mall in New Jersey

Visitors to one of New Jersey’s poshest malls will get a first glimpse of the revamped, post-bankruptcy Toys “R” Us just in time for the holiday season. The troubled toy chain opened a store in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus on Wednesday, reemerging after going into liquidation more than a year ago. It’s the first of 10 new locations planned to be operational by the end of next year. Instead of Geoffrey-sized aisles of the former outlets, the new stores have kid-height shelves in specialty spaces stocked by such toy brands as Paw Patrol, Nerf, and Nintendo. About 1,500 items will be available on site; other products can be ordered via in-store touchscreens and fulfilled online by retailer Target Corp. The second store will open in the Galleria mall in Houston next week. — BLOOMBERG



Iowa court upholds $4.9m verdict for fall at a Marriott

The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a $4.9 million jury verdict awarded to a Texas woman after she fell outside a hotel on an icy sidewalk. The court in its ruling Wednesday rejected arguments by Marriott International that the jury’s 2018 verdict was excessive and the result of jury prejudice against the corporation. Brenda Alcala, a software consultant for Genesis Health Systems, filed the lawsuit. She was staying at the Bettendorf Courtyard by Marriott in January 2010 when she slipped on ice and broke an ankle. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Rates up slightly

Mortgage rates crept slightly higher this week but remain at low levels that could encourage more home-buying. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the average rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage ticked up to 3.68 percent from 3.66 percent the previous week. The average 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.15 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Fiat Chrysler recalling more than 110,000 vans

A problem with overheating cooling fan motors has prompted Fiat Chrysler to recall over 110,000 vans in North America. The recall covers certain Ram ProMaster vans with air conditioning from 2015 through 2018. The automaker says in documents filed with US regulators that fans can seize, and a circuit breaker may not stop them from overheating. That could cause fires. Fiat Chrysler found 21 smoke or flame complaints with the government plus 13 reports from dealers. It also has more than 4,000 warranty claims. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Lufthansa faces $6.4m FIne for unauthorized flights

Deutsche Lufthansa was hit with a proposed $6.4 million fine Wednesday by US aviation authorities over accusations that the carrier operated about 600 flights into San Diego and Philadelphia without proper approval. The Federal Aviation Administration said Lufthansa knew it lacked authorization to fly to the two cities from March 22, 2018, through May 27 of this year, the agency said in a press release. The airline has 30 days to respond to the allegations. Airlines and other companies often negotiate lower penalties after FAA civil complaints are filed. — BLOOMBERG


Deere struggles with tariffs, tough weather for farmers

Deere & Co. is reporting an 8 percent drop in fourth quarter profit and issuing a weak outlook for next year. The company on Wednesday cited uncertainty from trade wars and other issues that have led farmers to pull back on machinery purchases. Many farmers in the Midwest and South whose planting this year was interrupted by wet weather got a break in the fall, though a few Northern states have seen harvest prospects go from bad to worse. Early rain and snow in Minnesota and the Dakotas hampered an already difficult harvest. — ASSOCIATED PRESS