Mass. stores spared in latest Circuit City layoffs; gas prices fall to the lowest point since March 2007; ex-Putnam employees settle up with the SEC.

21 CIRCUIT CITY STORES IN MASS. NOT AMONG THE 155 THAT WILL CLOSE


Circuit City Stores Inc.’s plan to close 155 stores and cut its U.S. work force by 17 percent will leave its Massachusetts stores untouched. The Richmond, Va.-based electronics chain said on Monday that it will close 155 domestic stores because of its own financial problems and broader economic issues, but all 21 of the Massachusetts stores will stay open. Some of Circuit City’s vendors have made more restrictive payment terms than in previous quarters, including in some cases requiring payments before shipping items, and the company has seen a decline in the amount of money it can borrow. Most of the stores that are being closed were unprofitable for Circuit City.


STATE GAS PRICES HIT LOWEST SINCE MARCH ‘07


Gas prices have dropped in Massachusetts to their lowest levels in more than 18 months, as the average for regular, self-serve gas fell to $2.46 cents a gallon on Monday, according to AAA Southern New England. That’s down 18 cents a gallon from a week ago. The last time gas prices were this low in Massachusetts was in March 2007. The state average, meanwhile, is 4 cents per gallon above the national average of $2.42. A year ago at this time, the state average was $2.85 a gallon. Retailers in Massachusetts are selling gas at a wide variety in prices, from a low of $2.16 a gallon to a high of $3.20 a gallon on Monday.


Ex-Putnam managers settle SEC charges


BOSTON – Two former Putnam managers have agreed to pay $135,000 to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they defrauded Cardinal Health’s retirement plan by delaying the plan’s purchase of certain investments, causing the plan to miss nearly $4 million in market gains.


Karnig Durgarian of Hopkinton, a former senior managing director at Boston-based Putnam Fiduciary Trust Co., agreed to pay $100,000, and Ronald Hogan of Saugus, a former vice president at PFTC, agreed to pay $35,000.


A complaint against a third defendant, Donald McCracken of Melrose, is still moving forward.


Three other defendants have been dismissed from the case; the SEC said it is appealing a judge’s decision to dismiss those defendants.


DUNKIN’ DONUTS EXPANDS RELATIONSHIP WITH BOSTON AD AGENCY


BOSTON – Boston ad agency Hill Holliday has been picked by Dunkin’ Donuts to handle its digital media planning and buying. Hill Holliday is already the agency of record for the Canton-based coffee-and-doughnut shop chain. The ad agency said the expanded responsibilities will allow for more seamless planning for marketing efforts.


Help sought for shellfish industry


The state’s congressional delegation has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce, asking for a disaster declaration to help the state’s shellfish industry in the wake of this year’s red tide outbreak. The state estimates that the economic impact of the toxic algae, which required the shutdown of thousands of acres of shellfish beds along the coast, could approach $7 million here.


Patriot Ledger staff