Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 10, 2009

An anchor store sought in Dundalk

Office developer St. John Properties Inc. said it is continuing to seek a big-box retail store to anchor a new shopping center planned for the site of the former North Point drive-in theater in Dundalk. So far, Burger King has signed on to occupy one of four stand-alone sites at the proposed 160,000-square-foot center. St. John Properties bought the 17.5-acre site on North Point Boulevard in 2007 and hopes to attract a grocery store or pharmacy and smaller stores or a big-box retailer, such as Target, Wal-Mart or Best Buy. The drive-in operated from 1948 through 1982. The site had been used until recently for weekend flea markets. The developer is also exploring possible uses for a former roller rink on the site.

Lorraine Mirabella

P&G president steps down

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble Co. said that Susan E. Arnold stepped down yesterday as president, which leaves Chief Operating Officer Robert A. McDonald as the front-runner to be the next CEO of the world's largest consumer products maker. Arnold, who has been P&G's highest-ranking female executive, and McDonald were promoted in 2007 in a move some analysts perceived as setting up a succession for Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley. McDonald and Arnold are 55 and have been with the company since 1980. But Lafley, P&G's CEO since 2000 and now 61, has dismissed suggestions that he is ready to retire soon. He told analysts in December: "The rumors of my passing are greatly exaggerated." Arnold, who was president for global business units, helped lead the growth of P&G's beauty operations. McDonald is a veteran executive for the Asian emerging markets, where the company increasingly sees its future growth. Arnold, who could also emerge as a candidate for a top position at another company, was not available for comment. P&G said she will retire Sept. 1 after 29 years with the company.

Associated Press

Md. woman wins high-court case

WASHINGTON: - The Supreme Court has ruled that consumers can sometimes resist credit-card companies' push to move their dispute over finance charges and late fees to arbitration. The justices voted, 5-4, yesterday in favor of Betty Vaden in her dispute with Discover Bank. Discover sued Vaden in Maryland state court in 2003, claiming she had not paid more than $10,000 on her account. Vaden filed a class-action counterclaim, saying the finance charges and late fees violated state law. The bank then asked a federal court to force Vaden into arbitration. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, said state courts sometimes are the proper place for such lawsuits. "Here, the controversy between Discover and Vaden was triggered by Discover's garden-variety, state-law debt-collection claim against Vaden," Ginsburg said. Many credit-card customer service agreements require disagreements over charges to be resolved using binding arbitration because it is cheaper and faster than a lawsuit, industry officials say. But they also argue that some state courts, reluctant to let go of lawsuits, are hostile to arbitration. A study by the Public Citizen consumer advocacy group found that arbitrators often rule in favor of the credit-card companies. Here, the issue was whether a federal court could step in to what had been a state court lawsuit.

Associated Press

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