Starwatch Consumer

U.S. retailers report 3.8 percent increase in holiday sales

Updated: 2014-01-15T03:43:41Z

Holiday tally

The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that retail sales for November and December combined totaled $601.8 billion, including online sales. That’s up 3.8 percent, better than last year’s 3.5 percent growth and just below the group’s 3.9 percent forecast. Sales came at the expense of profits as stores had to discount early and often to get shoppers to buy.

Merck recall

Drugmaker Merck & Co. said Tuesday that it’s recalling a combination cholesterol drug, wiping out the entire U.S. stock, because of packaging defects that could reduce effectiveness. Merck said the recall covers all four dose strengths and every batch distributed since Liptruzet was launched last May.

Chrysler safety inquiry

U.S. safety regulators are adding the Dodge Durango to an investigation of ceiling fires in Jeep Grand Cherokees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the investigation now covers more than 593,000 SUVs from the 2011 through 2013 model years. The agency says an analysis of Chrysler data shows 52 possible fires and three injuries.

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