Columbia-area retail news
• A Cook Out restaurant will go in at 600 Bush River Road at the site of a former Shoney’s restaurant and auto parts store.
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• An upscale wine and liquor store that will sell wine from around the world will locate on Devine Street adjacent to Za’s Brick Oven Pizza. The store, run by Za’s owners, will go into an area that was a special function room for the pizza restaurant.
Consumer prices ease upward
U.S. consumer prices rose only slightly last month as gas costs increased more slowly. Overall, the figures showed that inflation remains mild. The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in July after a 0.5 percent increase in June. Gas prices rose just 1 percent after jumping 6.3 percent in June. Excluding food and gas costs, which are volatile, “core” prices also rose 0.2 percent in July. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have risen 2 percent.
Economy hitting Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, said the weak global economy continues to batter its low-income shoppers. The chain on Thursday cut its annual profit and revenue outlook for the year after reporting second-quarter results that missed Wall Street estimates. Wal-Mart’s sober assessment adds to worries about consumer spending that arose when Macy’s Inc. lowered its profit expectations for the year after reporting disappointing results on Thursday and Kohl’s Corp. did the same on the following day even after posting solid results.
Facebook to test mobile payments service
Facebook says it plans to test a mobile payments service that lets users make purchases inside mobile applications using payment information they have added to their account on the social network. Facebook is working on a “very small test” and the company says there is no set schedule for making the service available to users. The service would use payment information that shoppers store on Facebook to automatically complete checkout forms of certain mobile apps. Then, the app would process the purchase.
Rules may change for gas mileage estimates
The U.S. government may change the rules for the gas mileage estimates that car buyers see on window stickers after finding that fuel economy figures for Ford’s C-Max gas-electric hybrid were inflated. The Environmental Protection Agency, which monitors mileage testing, said Thursday that it will cut the C-Max’s combined city-highway mileage estimate by nearly 9 percent to 43 mpg, from 47. Ford Motor Co. will change its window stickers to reflect the correct estimate and said that it will compensate drivers for the difference.
Staff writer Cassie Cope and The Associated Press contributed.