April strike cost Stop & Shop $345m in net sales

Globe Staff


April strike cost Stop & Shop $345m in net sales

The parent company of Massachusetts-based supermarket chain Stop & Shop says an 11-day strike in April that affected 240 stores in three states cost $345 million in net sales. Dutch company Ahold Delhaize in second-quarter results released Wednesday said the impact of the strike by workers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island on net sales is estimated at $224 million. The company said the sales loss during the recovery period following the strike was estimated to be $121 million. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Maker of Kool-Aid and Oscar Mayer hot dogs struggles as tastes change

Kraft Heinz released its second-quarter earnings report delayed by accounting problems and revealed continued fall-out related to those issues on top of weak sales. The company, which makes Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Kool-Aid, Heinz ketchup and Velveeta, took charges in excess of $1 billion in the first half due in part to the ‘‘perceived risk’’ to the value of the company during a very rough year in which its stock has been cut in half. The company, created in a 2015 merger crafted by billionaire Warren Buffett and Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital, had been trying to regain its footing and follow vast changes in what people eat and how they perceive the company’s most iconic brands. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Vermont cheese producers win 44 ribbons in national competition

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets says the state’s cheese producers won 44 ribbons at the American Cheese Society’s annual awards competition. Officials say this is Vermont’s best showing so far. Agriculture officials say five Vermont cheeses were finalists for the best in show. A total of 25 Vermont companies submitted cheeses to be judged among the more than 2,000 total entries. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Maine wild blueberry growers shut out of federal program

A federal program designed to help farmers suffering due to trade disruption is unlikely to assist Maine’s wild blueberry growers. Maine’s the sole commercial producer of wild blueberries in the United States. The industry has struggled in recent years with falling crop sizes and low prices to farmers. Maine Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal has called on the US Department of Agriculture to include the crop in its Market Facilitation Program, which is slated to provide billions to growers negatively impacted by foreign trade retaliation. But the USDA tells The Associated Press in a statement that program is intended for crops that aren’t easily used in school food programs or through food banks. Wild blueberries sometimes fill those needs. The agency says the blueberries remain eligible for other USDA assistance programs. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



American Airlines to begin flights to Africa

American Airlines Group will start its first flight to Africa next year while resuming service to Tel Aviv and expanding into three new cities in Eastern Europe. The carrier will fly nonstop three times a week between Philadelphia and Casablanca, Morocco, from June 4 through Sept. 8, according to a statement Thursday. A pending partnership with Royal Air Maroc may lead to future connecting flights to cities such as Marrakech, Morocco, and Lagos, Nigeria, said Vasu Raja, American’s vice president of network and schedule planning. American will also fly three times a week between Dallas and Tel Aviv starting Sept. 9, 2020, in response to increasing demand. The airline stopped unprofitable service to the Israeli city in January 2016. American will add seasonal service from Chicago to Prague and Budapest from May to October, and from Philadelphia to Krakow, Poland, its first flights to that city. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Rate for 30-year mortgage lowest since Nov. 2016

Long-term mortgage rates fell sharply this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan touching its lowest level since November 2016. Financial markets around the globe have been whipsawed by anxiety over the US-China trade war, sending investors fleeing from stocks to the safety of bonds and pushing bond interest-rates to record lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.60 percent, from 3.75 percent last week. A year ago, the rate stood at 4.59 percent. The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans tumbled to 3.05 percent from 3.20 percent.


CBS and AT&T reach agreement, returning CBS to a dozen cities

CBS Corp. and AT&T Inc. reached a new carriage agreement, ending a weekslong impasse that kept CBS channels off the air in more than a dozen cities. The blackout that started July 20 kept the most-watched broadcast network and other CBS-owned channels off AT&T U-verse and DirecTV systems in cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The companies, which didn’t disclose the terms of the new deal, said the stations would return Thursday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Tyson Foods to use robots to pack chicken

When you visit a meat plant, humans are completing tasks like stacking pallets and packing chicken drumsticks. But Tyson Foods Inc. thinks robots can do it all. The meat giant is betting that automation and robotics can alleviate a worker shortage that has long hampered the industry. The company has built the 26,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center near its headquarters in Springdale, Ark. At the facility, engineers will apply the latest advances in machine learning to meat manufacturing, with the goal of eventually eliminating jobs that can be physically demanding, highly repetitive, and at times dangerous. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Two hedge funds to raise $15b to help PG&E emerge from bankruptcy

Two hedge funds are seeking to raise $15 billion of equity to bolster PG&E Corp.’s plans to emerge from the largest utility bankruptcy in US history, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. Knighthead Capital Management and Abrams Capital Management, which together own about 7.8 percent of the California utility, plan to raise the money through a rights offering that would be open to all existing PG&E shareholders, they said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Ryanair pilots to strike this month, next

Ryanair Holdings’s struggle to keep a lid on Europe-wide wage claims deepened after UK pilots voted to strike in a dispute over pay. Members of the British Airlines Pilots Association will walk out for two days from Aug. 22, followed by a three-day action in September. Four-fifths of votes backed a strike on a 72 percent turnout, according to the union, though Ryanair said the numbers represent a minority of its UK crews. Ryanair is under pressure across Europe after a staffing foul-up two years ago increased employee bargaining power and forced chief executive Michael O’Leary to recognize labor groups.


NH Lottery looking for vendors as sports betting becomes legal

The New Hampshire Lottery is looking for proposals from potential online vendors and retailers to offer sports betting after it became legal last month. Republican Governor Chris Sununu signed a law that legalizes betting on professional sports and most Division I college sports, excluding games involving New Hampshire schools. Mobile betting and retail gambling at 10 locations will be allowed, though it will take some time to set up. The wagering is expected to produce an estimated $7.5 million for education in fiscal year 2021 and $13.5 million two years later. — ASSOCIATED PRESS