Pier 1 Imports planning return to Portland area

Pier 1 Imports plans to return to the Portland area with a new store that’s expected to open in about four months.

The home goods and furnishings retailer will move into the Maine Mall in South Portland, with the store likely to open early this fall, said Chrissy Madison, a public relations coordinator for the Texas-based company.

Pier 1 Imports operated a store on Forest Avenue in Portland until 2005, when it closed. Its only store in Maine now is in Augusta.

Pier 1 Imports specializes in imported home goods and decor, including furniture, rugs and decorative accessories.

Madison said the company decided to open a store in the mall as part of a routine review of new and existing markets.

Kellogg settles lawsuit over Mini-Wheats health claims

Kellogg has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over the marketing claims it made for Frosted Mini-Wheats.

The company, which also makes Frosted Flakes, Eggo waffles and Pop Tarts, was sued for saying that the cereal improved children’s attentiveness, memory and other cognitive functions.

Kellogg said in a statement that the ad campaign in question ran about four years ago and that it has since adjusted its messaging to incorporate guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission. The company, based in Battle Creek, Mich., also noted that it “has a long history of responsible advertising.”

On its website, Kellogg now says Frosted Mini-Wheats are full of fiber and “fill you up first thing and help keep you focused all morning.”

If approved by the court, the settlement will result in cash refunds for up to three boxes of cereal purchased during the time of the advertising in question, according to the law firm representing consumers. People may seek reimbursement of up to $5 per box, with a maximum of $15 per customer, according to the settlement.

Kellogg Co. said customers can visit www.cerealsettlement.com to submit a claim for a refund. The claims are for boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats purchased from Jan. 28, 2009, to Oct. 1, 2009.

Earnings for Tiffany & Co. beat analyst expectations

Tiffany & Co. reported a 3 percent increase in first-quarter net income, fueled by solid sales improvement across the regions, particularly in Asia.

The results, announced Tuesday, beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares briefly rose to their highest level in almost two years in morning trading.

Tiffany is a barometer of luxury spending, so the latest results show the resilience among affluent shoppers despite economic challenges around the globe. Still, the company stuck to its profit outlook for the year.

The high-end jewelry company known for its blue boxes earned $83.6 million, or 65 cents per share, for the period ended April 30. That’s up from $81.5 million, or 64 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding costs tied to staff and occupancy cuts, earnings were 70 cents per share. This easily beat the 53 cents per share that analysts expected.

British drugmaker buying New Jersey drug developer

British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC plans to spend about $260 million on Omthera Pharmaceuticals Inc., a specialty drug developer with only 14 employees that has a potential treatment for patients who have high levels of fats called triglycerides in their blood.

AstraZeneca said Tuesday it will pay $12.70 for each share of Omthera, which priced an initial public offering last month at $8 per share. The offered price represents an 87 percent premium to its closing price Friday of $6.77.

AstraZeneca said the deal totals about $323 million when counting Omthera’s cash balances.

Omthera, based in Princeton, N.J., has completed late-stage testing on Epanova, a fish oil-based treatment. It plans to submit the drug, to U.S. regulators for approval by the middle of this year.

— From staff and news services

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