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JLo to open cellphone stores; other business briefs


NEW YORK


JLo to open cellphone stores

"Jenny from the Block" wants the block to buy Verizon phones from her. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez says she's opening a chain of cellphone stores and a website under the Viva Movil brand. The aim is to sell Verizon phones and services to Latinos. The first store will open in New York on June 15. Lopez says the stores will have bilingual staff and provide a "culturally relevant shopping experience." Viva Movil will be an authorized Verizon reseller, with the same prices and plans as regular Verizon stores.


NATION


Home sales up a tick

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes ticked up last month to the highest level in 3 1/2 years, helped by a jump in the number of houses for sale. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, up from 4.94 million in March. Home sales have risen 9.7 percent in the past 12 months. The number of homes for sale rose 12 percent from March to April to 2.16 million. The increase in inventory partly reflects the beginning of the spring selling season. The supply of homes would be exhausted in 5.2 months at the current sales pace, below the typical level of about six months.


Twitter tweaks log-in process

Twitter is adding an extra security measure to users' accounts in an effort to prevent unauthorized log-ins. Twitter said in a blog post Wednesday that users will be able to enroll in a log-in verification program. For those who sign up, Twitter will send a six-digit code using a text message each time they sign in to Twitter.com. Besides their user name and password, users will have to enter the code as well to log in. Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. already allow two-step verification as an option. Twitter has been criticized for not having this option, especially following recent breaches of Twitter accounts belonging to major news organizations and other companies. Twitter will ask users for a verification code each time they log out and log back in, even if it's from the same computer.

Pepsi changing pricing

PepsiCo Inc. is tweaking its drink-pricing strategy in some parts of the United States, as it aims to wean consumers off the habit of buying soda only when it's on sale. The strategy involves narrowing the gap between soda prices on holidays and regular days. It aims to lessen the discounts on holidays, when a 12- pack of 12-ounce cans can cost as little as $2.50, and lower prices throughout the rest of the year, when the same package can cost as much as $5.99. PepsiCo Americas Beverages CEO Al Carey said the soda industry sells half of its annual volume during roughly 12 weeks. "We have trained the consumer to wait until the price goes down and then go fill up your garage and then don't buy it again for a very long time," he said.

Remedy at Abercrombie eyed

A federal judge in Denver is contemplating an injunction against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and J.M. Hollister LLC after ruling earlier that nearly 250 of their clothing stores that cater to a hip, young clientele are unfriendly to the disabled. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several Colorado customers who said they had trouble getting into the retailers and that the sales countertops are too high. New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch is the parent company of Hollister. The companies said earlier they complied with all construction standards in effect at the time. Lawyers for the companies did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday. Judge Wiley Daniel agreed in March with a Colorado disability coalition that the retailers limited access for customers in wheelchairs. He said the remedy would be an injunction ordering the problems to be fixed.-- AP

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