RETAIL

Walmart to put guns back on sales floors

One day after announcing it had removed all guns and ammunition from store shelves because of fears of “civil unrest,” Walmart said Friday it had begun putting those items back on sales floors.

The retail giant said it originally instructed store managers to move firearms and ammunition from in-store displays to a secure location in the back “in an abundance of caution.” It said several of its stores had been damaged earlier in the week during protests.

According to local media in Philadelphia, at least one Walmart location had been ransacked after rioting broke out following the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man whose family said he was in the middle of a mental health crisis.

“As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today,” the company said in a statement.

Walmart sells firearms at about half of its 4,700 U.S. stores. It stopped selling handguns and ammunition for military-style rifles in September 2019, after shootings at two of its stores left at least 24 people dead. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer also began prohibiting customers from openly carrying firearms in its stores and said it would push Congress to pass tighter gun-control laws.

— Abha Bhattarai

STREAMING

Netflix raises prices as subscriptions grow

Netflix is raising most of its U.S. prices by 8 to 13 percent as its video streaming service rides a wave of rising popularity spurred by government-imposed shutdowns that corralled people at home during the fight against the pandemic.

The increases imposed Friday boost the cost of Netflix’s most popular U.S. streaming plan by $1 to $13.99 per month, while a premium plan that allows more people to simultaneously watch on different screens now costs $2 more at $17.99 per month. Netflix’s basic U.S. plan remains at $8.99 per month. It marks Netflix’s first price changes in the United States since an increase rolled out early last year.

New U.S. subscribers will be charged the higher prices immediately while the increases will affect existing customers in phases during the next few months. Netflix ended September with 73 million subscribers in the United States and Canada, with the overwhelming majority located in the former.

Netflix’s price hike comes amid a surge in worldwide growth as efforts to contain the novel coronavirus have closed down restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company gained 28 million worldwide subscribers during the first nine months of the year, already eclipsing its growth for 2019.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Americans' incomes increased in September by more than expected, boosted by employment gains and helping to propel consumer spending at the end of the third quarter. Personal incomes rose 0.9 percent from the prior month following a 2.5 percent decline in August, a Commerce Department report showed Friday. Household outlays advanced 1.4 percent, also exceeding forecasts.

Ford said on Friday it expects to sell 100,000 cars and trucks equipped with the company's new hands-free driving system in the first full year of availability. The catch: Only the system hardware will be installed. The software will not be ready for nearly another year, Ford said. The automaker's Active Drive Assist will be offered first on the redesigned F-150 pickup and the new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, both of which go on sale later this year. The feature will not be activated until the third quarter of 2021.

Lowe's Companies said on Friday it would hire 20,000 associates across its U.S. stores and regional distributors, anticipating higher customer demand during the holiday season. The home-improvement retailer is filling permanent full-time and part-time roles at its stores in addition to bringing on seasonal help for the holidays. It is also hiring 2,500 team members at regional distribution centers in the United States.

— From news services