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The Journal Gazette

Friday, August 11, 2017 1:00 am


Photo riles Walmart, social media

Staff, news services

Walmart said Thursday it's investigating a photo that's attracted interest on social media by purporting to show a sign reading “Own The School Year Like A Hero” atop a gun-filled case in one of the company's stores.

The sign is apparently one that's used in Walmart's current superhero-themed back-to-school marketing campaign, but the company said in a statement that “what's seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores.”

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said the company hasn't determined which store might have displayed the sign above guns, or even if the photo is real.

The photo showing the “Own The School Year” sign atop a six-sided glass display case filled with rifles has attracted attention on social media, drawing comments of outrage and mentions of school shootings.

Crowson said Walmart is “exploring all possibilities,” including whether an employee unintentionally erected the sign, if it's a prank, or if the image was edited to show something that doesn't exist. 

Microsoft laptops lose magazine praise

Consumer Reports is pulling its recommendation of four Microsoft laptops after one of its surveys found that users were complaining about problems with the devices.

The consumer advocacy group said Thursday that it can no longer recommend Microsoft laptops or tablets because of poor reliability compared to other brands. Microsoft said the findings don't accurately reflect Surface owners' “true experiences.”

The consumer group says Microsoft machines have performed well in laboratory testing. But a subscriber survey found startup and freezing problems. The devices losing their “recommended” status are the Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions).

More seek jobless aid last week

More Americans applied for jobless aid last week. Despite the small increase, the number of people seeking benefits remains close to historic lows.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment applications rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000.

But the less volatile four-week average declined 1,000 to 241,000.

Applications closely reflect layoffs. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 127 weeks in a row. That's the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.

The unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.

Blue Apron in red despite strong sales  

Blue Apron posted strong revenue growth in its second quarter, but the meal-kit seller founded five years ago has yet to make a profit.

It reported a loss of $55 million last year, but its sales have soared. Blue Apron posted revenue of $795.4 million for 2016, more than double its level the year before.

Blue Apron, which was providing its first earnings report since becoming a public company in June, reported total revenue for the period ended June 30 rose to $238.1 million from $201.9 million. 

Blue Apron Holdings Inc. lost $31.6 million, or 47 cents per share, in the quarter.