Business Briefs: New 'Burgh clothing store

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Athleta, a women's fitness clothing store chain owned by Gap, plans to open its first Pittsburgh-area location on Walnut Street in Shadyside this fall.

Patch.com downsizing

Patch.com, AOL Inc.'s "hyper-local" Web news venture, is laying off nearly half of its 1,100-member workforce, according to news sources including The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. In a statement issued Friday, AOL said it would consolidate or close some Patch sites to cut costs, and partner with other media companies in some locations.

Patch.com is a group of neighborhood news websites, launched in 2007 and acquired by AOL in 2009, part of the internet service provider's attempt to move into the content-delivery business. Among the fired were several Pittsburgh-area Patch employees.

Apartment construction up

Builders began work on houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 in July, up 6 percent from June, the Commerce Department reported Friday. But the rise was all due to apartment construction, which is volatile. By contrast, builders began work on fewer single-family homes and sought fewer permits to build them.

SEC approves sale of NYSE

The Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed Friday that it has authorized the $8 billion sale of the New York Stock Exchange to Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange. The merger also must be approved by regulators in Europe because NYSE's parent is NYSE Euronext, which includes stock exchanges in Europe. The deal is expected to close in the fall.

U.S. productivity increases

U.S. worker productivity accelerated to a still-modest 0.9 percent annual pace between April and June after dropping the previous quarter. Labor costs rose at a 1.4 percent annual pace from April through June, reversing a revised 4.2 percent drop the previous quarter.

Penney, investor make deal

J.C. Penney Co. and its largest shareholder, William Ackman, have made a deal that gives Penney some control over the timing of any sales of his stake in the company. The agreement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, comes days after Mr. Ackman resigned from Penney's board as part of a deal to resolve an unusually public battle between the activist investor and the struggling department store. Mr. Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management has a 17.7 percent stake, or 39 million shares, in Penney.

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