Walgreen buys 144 stores in mid-South from chain

Walgreen Co. took another step Thursday in its push to grow through acquisitions when it announced the $438 million purchase of a regional chain that operates USA Drug, Super D and May’s drugstores.

The Deerfield, Ill., company also said monthly sales fell once again in June, as a split with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co. continued to hurt business.

Walgreen plans to buy 144 stores from a chain focused on the mid-South from the privately held Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings Inc., which is based in Little Rock, Ark. Its stores are located in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri, among other states.

US Airways biding its time on American Airlines merger

The CEO of US Airways says he still wants to merge with American Airlines, but he’s in no hurry.

Doug Parker has been publicly pushing for a deal with American since April 20, when he won the support of American’s three unions. American filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and its executives have resisted a merger, although they have agreed with creditors to study merger options.

But bankruptcy issues have stalled merger efforts. American is likely to get more time to propose its own reorganization plan. And getting new contracts with its unions is taking longer than expected.

“That delay is fine by us — there is certainly no urgency for us to merge,” Parker wrote in a message to employees Wednesday. He said the delay is fine as long as his airline gets “a fair chance to present our superior alternative” in time to merge with American as it comes out of bankruptcy.

Google phasing out tool for personalizing home page

Google is phasing out a service that allows millions of people to personalize its home page with applications such as weather updates and stock quotes.

The customization service, known as iGoogle, will be turned off in November 2013. The mobile version of iGoogle will be discontinued at the end of this month.

Google Inc. disclosed its plans this week. It’s being swept out as part of a periodic housecleaning that has seen Google scrap more than 30 products since co-founder Larry Page became CEO 15 months ago.

Page has been trying to sharpen Google’s focus on search, advertising, video, social networking and mobile devices. The scheduled termination of iGoogle will come eight years after Google first offered the personalization tool.

Boeing’s delivery of planes less than analysts expected

Boeing Co. said Thursday that it has delivered 287 commercial airplanes so far this year, including 11 of its new 787s.

The 787 deliveries are being closely watched because Boeing is ramping up production of that plane at both its Everett, Wash., factory and a new line in North Charleston, S.C. Boeing delivered six of those planes in the second quarter.

Barclays analyst Carter Copeland said the 787 deliveries were less than many analysts expected, but shouldn’t hurt Boeing’s earnings because profit margins on that plane are thin anyway.

U.S. files trade complaint over China’s duties on cars

The U.S. launched a trade complaint Thursday against China at the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of unfairly imposing duties on more than $3 billion in exports of American-produced automobiles.

Under WTO rules, countries are allowed to impose punitive tariffs to offset damage from both subsidies and dumping — selling products at below market value — but the U.S. contends that in this and other cases, China has used those remedy measures in an unfair and retaliatory way to hurt American exporters.

The announcement came as President Obama hit the campaign trail in Ohio, where automakers have been affected by the Chinese tariffs imposed in December.

— From news service reports