Business briefs

2013-02-21T00:00:00Z Business briefsFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Office Depot, OfficeMax announce merger

NEW YORK - Office Depot and OfficeMax are being collated.

The retailers said Wednesday they have agreed to combine in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion that would transform the office-supply retail sector by helping the No. 2 and No. 3 chains compete against industry behemoth Staples.

The merger marks the first move toward consolidation in an industry that is bloated with stores. It reflects the changing retail landscape as "big box" stores have become outmoded and more people shop online. Still, doubts remain whether the combination, which has been mulled over in the industry for years, is enough to offset growing competition and a changing retail landscape.

Except for food prices, inflation is tame

WASHINGTON - U.S. wholesale prices rose only slightly in January after three straight declines, the latest sign that inflation is posing no threat.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index rose 0.2 percent last month, the first increase since September. Gasoline and other energy prices fell, while food prices jumped 0.7 percent after dropping sharply in December.

The index measures the cost of goods before they reach consumers. Wholesale prices are what manufacturers and farmers receive for their products.

Fed minutes show concerns

WASHINGTON - Several Federal Reserve policymakers suggested last month that the Fed might have to scale back its efforts to keep borrowing costs low for the foreseeable future. Minutes of the Jan. 29-30 policy meeting released Wednesday showed that some worried about the plan to keep buying $85 billion in bonds each month until the job market has improved substantially. They expressed concern this could eventually escalate inflation, unsettle financial markets or cause the Fed to absorb losses.

The Associated Press

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