Maine prices for kerosene and heating oil hold steady

Maine home heating oil prices are holding steady as the days grow colder and the nights get longer.

The latest weekly price survey from the governor’s energy office finds an average statewide price of $3.53 cents per gallon for Number 2 heating oil and $3.94 per gallon for kerosene. Both prices are the same as last week. The average price of a gallon of propane rose by 2 cents over last week to $2.70.

Heating oil prices tend to be lower in the western and southwestern areas of the state and higher in the north.

Agency officials urge residents to make their homes as energy-efficient as possible by weatherizing or installing less expensive and more efficient heating systems.

Dish’s Blockbuster closings leave only 50 stores in U.S.

The final curtain is falling on the remaining Blockbuster video-rental stores that Dish Network Corp. runs in the U.S.

About 300 Blockbuster locations scattered around the country will be closed by early January. But 50 franchised stores will remain open in the U.S. As part of Dish Network’s retreat, Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail service is also shutting down next month.

The cost-cutting measures culminate a Blockbuster downfall that began a decade ago with the rise of Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service, followed by the introduction of a subscription service that streams video over high-speed Internet connections.

Whole Foods shares slide after weak revenue report

Shares of Whole Foods Market tumbled in after-hours trading Wednesday after the grocery chain reported a revenue shortfall in its fiscal fourth quarter and trimmed its annual outlook for 2014.

Shares were down more than 9 percent in after-hours trading even as the food chain, known for its organic and natural food offerings, posted a 7 percent increase in profits, helped by lower food inflation.

The latest results show that Whole Foods Market Inc., which has more than 350 locations, including one in Portland, is facing a more competitive landscape. The chain has been able to boost sales in large part because its health glow fits with changing eating habits. But more mainstream players are increasingly tapping into that trend with more products or sections labeled as natural or organic.

Whole Foods is also battling a perception among shoppers that its food is pricey, and has instituted a round of price cuts to lure shoppers.

Whole Foods earned $121 million, or 32 cents per share, in the three-month period ended Sept. 29. That compares with $113 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

– From news service reports

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