Business briefs: Local gas prices freeze

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Local gas prices went unchanged in the past week as the polar vortex put a freeze on prices nationwide. The average price for a gallon of gas in Pittsburgh was $3.53 Sunday, according to a survey of 731 local outlets by GasBuddy.com. The national average was $3.29 per gallon, down 0.4 cents from the previous week.

Nonprofit gets local leader

Pittsburgh-based law firm Reed Smith appellate practice partner James C. Martin has been named president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The invitation-only national organization was founded in 1990 to recognize and promote appellate lawyers and appellate advocacy.

Fla. firm sued over robocalls

The Federal Trade Commission and the Florida attorney general sued an Orlando-based operation, saying it used illegal robocalls to pitch purportedly free medical alert devices to senior citizens by falsely stating the devices had been purchased for them by a relative or friend. The telemarketers -- operating under various names such as Worldwide Info Services, Absolute Solutions Group and The Credit Voice -- "lied about the product, about whether health organizations had endorsed it and about its cost," the FTC's Jessica Rich said. The agencies will seek refunds for senior citizens who were victimized. More information is available at www.ftc.gov.

Lululemon lowers forecasts

Lululemon Athletica Inc. is lowering its fiscal fourth-quarter forecasts due to declining traffic and sales in January. The yoga-inspired clothing company now foresees earnings between 71 cents and 73 cents per share. Its prior guidance was for earnings of 78 cents to 80 cents. The company is trying to bounce back from a series of embarrassing issues. In the spring it pulled a line of its popular yoga pants after customers complained they were too sheer. Then the Canadian company's founder angered some people with comments that suggested larger women's bodies were to blame for some quality complaints.

$55M offer for Hybrid assets

Fisker Automotive Inc., the bankrupt maker of hybrid luxury cars, received a $55 million offer for its assets from Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC as an auction looms. Fisker, based in Anaheim, Calif., filed in Chapter 11 on Nov. 22, listing debt of as much as $1 billion and assets of less than $500 million. It blamed the bankruptcy of a battery supplier, safety recalls and shipments lost to Superstorm Sandy.

81K in Pa. sign up for care

About 81,000 Pennsylvanians signed up for health insurance coverage through the federal health care exchange that opened for business Oct. 1, according to statistics released Monday. In all, at least 2.1 million have signed up for health plans though Dec. 28, via the federal marketplace or through similar websites operated at the state level.

Atlantic City club shut down

The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, in Atlantic City, N.J., shut down Monday, the victim of a glut of casinos in the northeastern U.S. Two rival casino companies paid a combined $23.4 million to shut down the Atlantic Club and remove what they considered unneeded capacity from the market. Tropicana Entertainment bought the slot machines, table games and customer lists, while Caesars Entertainment bought an 801-room hotel it has no immediate plans for. About 1,600 workers lost their jobs in the closing.

Quaker Steak interim CEO

Sharon-based restaurant chain Quaker Steak & Lube has tapped Frederick Dreibholz, current chief financial officer, to serve as interim CEO. John Longstreet, who started on the board in 2004 and became CEO in 2010, is stepping down.

From staff and wire reports


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