Retail sales rise as consumers shrug off stock price drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose modestly in January, evidence that Americans kept shopping despite sharp drops in stock prices.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent last month, the same as in December. Excluding the effect of falling gas prices, sales rose 0.4 percent.

Business stockpiles rise, but sales fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles slightly in December, as sales dropped sharply. This combination has stoked anxieties about weakening economic growth, as sales over the entire year dropped for the first time since the Great Recession.

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OK sought for Paxton gaming parlor

PAXTON — The Paxton City Council will look into the possibility of allowing a Gibson City businessman to open a gaming parlor.

U.S. markets dive amid global selloff

ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

Chamber speaker: Businesses can give context to education

CHAMPAIGN — The growing skills gap in education systems across the U.S. can be filled simply, with the help of local businesses.

That's the message Doan Winkel, an Illinois State University professor and entrepreneur, intends to share at a Champaign County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday morning.

Twitter tweaks its timeline in pursuit of more users

MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writer

Chamber challenges businesses to increase local purchasing

CHAMPAIGN — After years of encouraging consumers to shop locally, Champaign County businesses are now challenging one another to do their own purchasing with local businesses.

It's all part of the Local Purchasing Challenge, an effort undertaken by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

Applebee's has soft opening; public hours start Thursday

DANVILLE — The new Applebee's restaurant in Danville will open to the public on Thursday.

The city's newest eatery on North Vermilion Street has been gearing up for Thursday with an invitation-only soft opening, allowing management and staff to practice serving up menu items.

Red Lobster enjoys sales surge after mention in Beyonce song

NEW YORK (AP) — Red Lobster says it's feeling the "Beyonce Bounce."