Thursday, July 15, 2004

Business Digest

Motor executive joins Ashland Inc. directors

COVINGTON - Ashland Inc., the chemicals and petroleum products company based here, has elected Kathleen Ligocki to its board of directors, the company said Wednesday.

Ligocki, 47, is president and chief executive officer of Tower Automotive Inc., a Novi, Mich., designer and producer of vehicle structural components and assemblies used by manufacturers. She previously was a vice president in the customer service division of Ford Motor Co.

Ashland stock gained 31 cents to close at $52.85 on Wednesday.

Shopping drops for June; experts upbeat

WASHINGTON - Lethargic shoppers depressed sales at America's retailers in June by the largest percentage in 16 months. Looking ahead, though, buyers are expected to show more energy.

The 1.1 percent decline in sales, reported Wednesday by the Commerce Department, followed a shopping splurge in May when merchants' sales rose 1.4 percent, better than previously estimated.

The retreat in buying was blamed on bad weather and the lingering effects of high energy prices, economists said. Some analysts also said they believed June's slowdown in the growth of the nation's payrolls played a role.

P&G assigns media accounts to 2 agencies

Procter & Gamble Co. has divided its new North American communications and media planning account between two agencies, part of an effort to find new media channels beyond the 30-second television commercial to reach consumers.

Starcom Mediavest Group will handle planning for P&G's fabric care, home care, health care and beauty care units, while Carat will handle baby care, pet care, family care and snacks & beverages.

The trade journal Advertising Age put the value of the assignments at $4 billion.

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