Business Briefs: A&F to close 40-50 stores

• Google Inc. is currently in the process of developing retail stores. The stores would sell Google hardware such as tablets and Chromebooks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• The National Hockey League was deemed “recession proof.” The sport is the only one of the big four (football, baseball, basketball and hockey) to have a higher number of ticket sales now than before the recession, despite an increase in the price of tickets, according to CNBC.

• Reader’s Digest Association filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week for the second time in four years. The magazine’s struggles are another example of the stress on print media, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• Office Depot and OfficeMax confirmed the rumor that the two office supply companies are planning to merge. The merger comes as the two companies fight to survive against larger competitors such as Staples and Amazon.com, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• The British government’s bond rating was downgraded from AAA to AA1 by Moody’s Investor’s Service. The bond-rating agency cites Britain’s slowing growth and rising debt as main contributors to the decision, according to CNBC.

• Dick’s Sporting Goods has been growing at a consistently high rate over the last decade and has also been keeping itself well above the competition in the sports equipment market. The company is being declared “the safest way to invest in the sports merchandise industry,” according to Barron’s Magazine.

• Abercrombie & Fitch Co. had a relatively strong fourth quarter, but the teen clothing store still struggles to increase same-store sales. The company is expected to close 40 to 50 stores over the next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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