Business Briefs: 7/1/14

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American Eagle makes a move for United Kingdom

American Eagle Outfitters plans to open three company-owned stores in the United Kingdom this fall. The South Side teen clothing retailer will go into the Bluewater mall in Kent, England, in addition to two shopping centers in London. It now has stores in Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, as well as franchise stores in 13 countries.

Citizens Financial Group to rename chain banks

Citizens Financial Group, the Rhode Island-based parent company of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, said it would rename its more than 200 Charter One retail branches in Ohio and Michigan as Citizens Bank by the middle of next year to create a consistent brand across its 11-state footprint. Its parent company, The Royal Bank of Scotland, has said it intends to divest Citizens by the end of 2016 through a series of public offerings.

TreeHouse Foods eyes snack food acquisition

TreeHouse Foods plans to acquire St. Paul, Minn., private label healthy snack maker Flagstone Foods for $860 million in cash. The Oak Brook, Ill, company‘‍s portfolio includes a private label soup operation at the former Heinz plant on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter and bring with it 1,365 employees and two plants — one in Minneapolis and the other in Roberson, N.C., according to the company’s announcement.

Pending home sales soar nationwide in May

Pending home sales surged more than expected in May, the latest sign a sluggish housing recovery is picking up steam. A gauge of signed contracts for previously owned homes jumped 6.1 percent from April, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. It was the largest pop since April 2010. Then, buyers rushed to lock in a first-time home buyer tax credit before it expired. After slowing last summer, the housing market appears to be turning a corner.

L’Oreal reaches settlement with trade commission

Cosmetics company L‘‍Oreal USA reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that prohibits the company from claiming that any of its Lancome or L’‍Oreal Paris skin care products target a person‘‍s genes to make skin look younger, unless the claims are supported by scientific evidence, according to the agency. The FTC sued L’‍Oreal alleging it made false and unsubstantiated claims that its Genifique and Youth Code products provided anti-aging benefits by affecting users‘‍ genes.

Japanese automakers boost investment in U.S.

Japanese carmakers boosted investment in their U.S. plants by more than $5 billion in 2013, the biggest increase on record, new figures from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association showed on Monday. Total manufacturing investment in U.S. plants, vehicles and engines reached $40.6 billion in 2013, up $5.2 billion from the previous year.

American Apparel denies former CEO’‍s plea

American Apparel Inc. has refused to call a stockholder meeting requested by ousted Chief Executive Dov Charney and maneuvered to block him from retaking control of the company. The Los Angeles retailer said Monday that a shareholder meeting demanded last week by Mr. Charney to change the company’s bylaws and expand the number of board members is intended to push his “own self-interest,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. Bank settles mortgage probe for $200M

U.S. Bank, a part of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, will pay $200 million to resolve allegations that it certified home loans for government insurance even though they did not meet regulatory requirements. U.S. Bank admitted that between 2006 and 2011, it certified for Federal Housing Administration insurance mortgage loans that did not meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements, the Justice Department said Monday.

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