News In Brief

Exxon Mobil Corp., aiming to slash costs following its merger, announced it would increase by 3,000 the number of jobs it plans to cut. That would bring the total to 19,000 positions, or about 15 percent of the workforce. Most of the job losses will come from outside the US and will involve more premerger Exxon employees than Mobil workers. At a meeting with investors in New York, the No. 1 US oil company said savings as a result of the merger would be some 65 percent higher than originally planned. A company official estimated that the annual figure eventually would rise to $4.6 billion before taxes.

A challenge by Toys "R" Us to an antitrust ruling by the Federal Trade Commission was rejected by a panel of three federal judges in Chicago. The ruling stemmed from charges first brought in 1996, which alleged the chain had used its dominance to force major toy manufacturers to sell only so-called "value packs" or discontinued items to discount shopping clubs. The Paramus, N.J.-based company, meanwhile, announced plans to build the world's largest toy store - a 101,000-square-foot emporium in New York's Times Square. The three-story, glass-enclosed store, which is to become the company's flagship, is scheduled to open next summer, an official said.

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