Massachusetts business in brief
Retailers satisfied with tax holiday
Most retailers in the state reported that sales at their stores during last weekend’s sales tax holiday were at least as strong as they were during last year’s event, Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst said.
Hurst said moving the sales tax holiday weekend – in which most items that did not exceed $2,500 were sold without the state’s 5 percent sales tax – to the third weekend of August from the second weekend helped retailers. That’s because it brought the sales tax holiday closer to the peak of the back-to-school shopping season.
“It was a much needed boost here in August,” Hurst said. “If we hadn’t had it, we would have had a pretty rough month.”
Sears to pay $55,000 to settle with state
BOSTON – Sears, Roebuck & Co. will pay $55,000 to settle allegations that it violated the state’s Clean Air Act by improperly removing an old boiler that contained asbestos from a Pembroke home in October 2004, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said.
The settlement and Coakley’s complaint were filed on Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court. Coakley’s office alleged Sears subcontractors were not properly trained or licensed, and that state regulators were not informed of the removal in question. The subcontractors who worked at the Pembroke home failed to handle the removal correctly, resulting in the release of asbestos fibers into the house.
The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company will also update its policies and practices pertaining to asbestos removal as part of the settlement.
Casual Male fires chief merchandiser
CANTON – Casual Male Retail Group has fired Chief Merchandising Officer Wayne Diller and eliminated his position. Diller joined the company in 2006. Diller was paid $405,725 in salary and other compensation in 2007, according to an SEC filing.
Diller’s duties will be filled by two new positions, CEO David Levin said. Doug Hearn was named general merchandising manager for Casual Male and Ken Ederle is the new general merchandising manager for the Rochester Big & Tall division. The restructuring reflects the need to differentiate between the Canton-based company’s two brands, Levin said.
Dunkin’ Donuts eyes less populous areas
CANTON – Dunkin’ Donuts is taking aim at less populous markets as it continues to chart its national expansion.
The Canton-based chain is offering franchising opportunities in at least a dozen markets that allow franchisees to obtain three to 15 franchises per market. To qualify, franchisees need a minimum net worth of $1.5 million and liquid assets of $750,000.
The following markets are being targeted as part of Dunkin’ Donuts’ latest push: Harrisonburg and Bluefield, W. Va.; the Florida Keys; Erie, Pa.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Lima and Zanesville, Ohio; Columbus-Jefferson City and Ottumwa, Mo.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Jackson, Tenn.; and Paducah, Ky.
Nurses to picket BMC East Newton Campus
BOSTON – Hundreds of nurses who work at Boston Medical Center’s East Newton Campus planned to hold an informational picket outside the South End campus today until 2 p.m. as their union negotiates with BMC for a new contract.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association said the Boston Medical Center nurses are concerned about staffing policies and retiree health insurance benefits. They also want to make sure their wages are competitive with those at other Boston teaching hospitals.
A federal mediator joined the contract negotiations on Monday. The nurses’ contract expired in February, but it has been extended until Aug. 28.
The Patriot Ledger