Business briefs

Retailers say customer data compromised

BOSTON - Banks and credit card companies scrambled to notify their customers to watch for fraudulent activity after TJX Cos., parent of retailers Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, disclosed thefts of customer data from its computer system.

Late Thursday, O Bee Credit Union of Tumwater reported that the credit accounts of 450 of its members could be exposed to compromise due to the possible fraud. Credit union officials warned that no fraud had been identified, but it urged members to closely monitor their accounts for unusual activity. The credit union also announced that members are automatically protected with ID theft protection if they hold credit or debit card.

O Bee members with concerns can call the Member Resources Center at 360-943-0740 or toll free, 800-642-4014

TJX said hackers had broken into a system that handles credit and debit card transactions, as well as checks and merchandise returns for customers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and might involve customer accounts from the U.K. and Ireland.

Visa USA said in a statement that it has provided the affected accounts to banks that issue its cards so they can take steps to protect consumers. The company said it is assessing all credit card transactions in real-time to help banks distinguish fraudulent transactions from legitimate ones.


Rite Aid shareholders OK $3 billion deal

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Rite Aid Corp. shareholders Thursday overwhelmingly approved a deal worth almost $3 billion to buy more than 1,800 Brooks and Eckerd stores and become the largest drugstore operator on the East Coast.

Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore chain, has billed the deal as a way to catapult it within reach of the rapidly growing drugstore leaders Walgreen Co. and CVS Corp. As drug retailers expand into other services, Rite Aid executives say the acquisition also will make the company a more attractive partner for in-store health care and wellness clinics and pharmacy benefits managers.

The Federal Trade Commission is still reviewing the deal. Rite Aid has said it expects the transaction to close shortly after the company's fourth quarter, which ends March 3.


Consumer Reports backs off child seat study

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Consumer Reports on Thursday retracted a damning report on infant car seats after the federal government said test crashes on the seats were conducted at drastically higher speeds than the magazine had claimed.

The revelation amounts to an embarrasment for the trusted consumer guide, and a relief to parents who were frightened about their babies' safety after the original report came out.

That report said most of the seats tested "failed disastrously" in crashes at speeds as low as 35 mph. In one test, it said, a dummy child was hurled 30 feet.