Business Briefs: Groupon's loyalty pitch aimed at repeat users


Charles Rex Arbogast

SAN FRANCISCO -- Groupon has come up with another way for bargain hunters to save money as the online coupon distributor prepares to raise money from wary investors.

The additional savings will be offered through a customer loyalty program that Groupon unveiled Wednesday.

Merchants who join the service set a spending target for customers to hit before they qualify for an even steeper discount than Groupon usually offers through the millions of daily deals that it sells each week.

The new feature is meant to please consumers and merchants alike as Groupon tries to revive interest in its initial public offering of stock.

Three days of gains for stocks come to an end

NEW YORK -- A three-day winning streak in the stock market came to an end Wednesday as investors worried about Europe's ability to contain its debt crisis. Raw materials companies had the biggest declines after prices for commodities like copper and oil fell sharply.

Traders focused on remarks from German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting that the second bailout package for Greece might have to be renegotiated. Several European leaders want banks to take bigger losses on Greek bonds. France and the European Central Bank oppose the idea.

--The Dow Jones industrial average fell 179.79 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 11,010.90. It had gained 413 points over the past two days.

--The S&P 500 fell 24.32, or 2.1 percent, to 1,151.06.

--The Nasdaq index fell 55.25, or 2.2 percent, to 2,491.58.

GM's union workers OK pact that stresses profit

DETROIT -- Factory workers at General Motors have overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract with the company that has profit-sharing instead of pay raises for most workers and promises thousands of new jobs.

The United Auto Workers union said Wednesday that 65 percent of production workers voted for the deal, while 63 percent of skilled-trades workers were in favor.

GM was the first company to reach a deal with the UAW, which is now negotiating with Ford and Chrysler. The pact is a template for the other companies, but there will be differences.

Reebok to pay $25M to buyers of toning shoes

WASHINGTON -- Reebok will pay $25 million to customers to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that it made deceptive claims in ads that its toning shoes would measurably strengthen the legs and buttocks of those who wear them.

Reebok has centered much of its business on toning shoes, which include EasyTone walking shoes, RunTone running shoes and EasyTone flip flops.

Reebok made a number of claims in marketing materials the FTC said it could not support.

Consumers seeking a refund will be paid either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved lawsuit. To apply, go to