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Briefs

Activists get past P&G’s HQ security

Cincinnati police Thursday called for a “security summit” of the city’s businesses in the aftermath of a breach at Procter & Gamble Co. headquarters by Greenpeace activists.

Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said it was “a wake-up call” when activists got into P&G’s downtown offices Tuesday and used zip lines to unfurl protest banners from the 12th floor to draw attention to the company’s use of a palm oil supplier Greenpeace says is tied to tropical forest destruction in Indonesia.

A P&G spokeswoman said an activist posing as a businessman on the way to a meeting let the others in. She said security has been tightened since the activists’ protest.

“We take what happened the other day very seriously,” the police chief said. “Greenpeace has very talented people that do what they do all over the world. We’re just fortunate that it was Greenpeace, and they didn’t have nefarious intentions that had any nexus to terrorism or any other harmful act for the citizens of Cincinnati.”

Staples to close up to 225 stores

Staples has become the second major chain to announce the mass closing of stores this week, providing the latest evidence of how the retail landscape is being remade by shifts in American shopping habits.

The nation’s largest office-supply company said Thursday that nearly half of its sales are now generated online, and it is working aggressively to cut costs and become more efficient. It aims to close more than 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of next year, up to 225 stores, as part of a plan to save about $500 million.

Staples’ northeast Indiana presence includes a store on Illinois Road and one in Auburn.

Staples Chairman and CEO Ron Sargent said the stores have fallen short of expectations over the past three years, and the company launched a plan last year reinvent Staples.

Productivity slows to 4th-quarter crawl

U.S. productivity grew at an even slower annual rate than previously thought in the final three months of last year.

Economists are hoping productivity growth will revive in 2014, reflecting a stronger economy.

Productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the October-December quarter, a slowdown from 3.5 percent productivity growth in the third quarter, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The new estimate was lower than the 3.2 percent gain the government had previously reported. Unit labor costs dipped 0.1 percent, smaller than the 1.6 percent drop previously estimated.

FTC says ADT settles charges of deception

U.S. regulators said Thursday that ADT Corp. has settled charges that it deceived consumers by paying people to recommend its home security products on media outlets without disclosing their connection to the company.

The Federal Trade Commission said ADT paid child-safety, home-security and technology experts more than $300,000 to promote its ADT Pulse security system online and on TV, including during a January 2011 segment on NBC’s “Today” show.

The paid endorsers were introduced by show hosts and reporters as experts and their connection to ADT was never revealed. The endorsers also talked about other products, making the segment look as if it were an unbiased review.

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