Business news in brief

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A worker holds down a load of freshly cut Christmas trees as they are transported to a preparation area at the John T Nieman Nursery in Hamilton, Ohio. The fourth-generation family farm is home to 60,000 trees that require regular maintenance throughout the year. The family began planting cut-your-own trees in 1987.

In the Region

Phila. airport CEO Gale retiring

Mark E. Gale, chief executive officer of Philadelphia International Airport for seven of his nearly 28 years working at the facility, will retire early in 2016. For more than 20 of those years, Gale worked a variety of jobs overseeing operations and facilities. Mayor Nutter, who appointed Gale to the CEO post in 2009, made the retirement announcement Monday and called him "an outstanding leader." Gale, 53, told his senior staff on Monday morning that he would be stepping down. "He has been talking about retiring and doing something different," airport spokeswoman Mary Flannery said. Before becoming CEO, Gale served as the airport's acting aviation director for 11 months, succeeding Charles J. Isdell, who retired. - Linda Loyd

Peco boosting conservation

Peco Energy Co. on Monday filed plans with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to step up offerings of energy efficiency programs next year, including a proposal to offer bill credits to customers who allow the utility to manage their wireless thermostats during peak-energy periods. Peco's new plan, which would go into effect next June, is aimed at reducing overall customer energy use by 5 percent, or about 2 million megawatts, by May 31, 2021, and to reduce customer demand by 161 megawatts during high-use periods. The plan would maintain the utility's array of "Smart Ideas" rebates and incentives put into place to comply with Pennsylvania Act 129, a 2008 law that forced utilities to reduce customers' energy consumption and demand or face penalties. Utilities are allowed to recover the costs of the conservation measures with higher rates. The new offerings would include enhanced online tools to provide customers more ways to track how they use energy, said Ben Armstrong, a Peco spokesman. - Andrew Maykuth

Comcast expands call center

Comcast Corp. is adding 42,000 square feet to its call center in South Jersey's Voorhees Technology Center, according to Colliers International broker Evan Zweban, who helped broker the lease. The expansion, to be completed in early 2016, will bring Comcast's total occupancy in the building at 401 White Horse Rd. to 150,000 square feet, Colliers said in a statement Monday. Philadelphia-based Comcast is the nation's biggest cable-TV provider. - Jacob Adelman

Navy Yard shipbuilder renamed

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is now Philly Shipyard Inc. Shareholders of the region's only commercial shipyard, meeting Monday in Oslo, Norway, where parent company Aker ASA is located, approved the name change, effective immediately. "Our new name is simple yet distinctive, and better defines who we are and where we are going," said shipyard president and CEO Steinar Nerbovik. Philly Shipyard, a public company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, employs about 1,100 at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. The company will change its ticker symbol from AKPS to PHLY on Thursday. The shipbuilder constructs mainly product tankers and large container ships, and has orders to build ships through December 2018. - Linda Loyd

Elsewhere

Sleepy's sold for $780 million

Mattress Firm Holding Corp. agreed to buy rival Sleepy's for $780 million, uniting the two largest specialty mattress retailers in the United States. As part of the deal, Mattress Firm is assuming $30 million in liabilities, according to a statement Monday. Sleepy's chief operating officer, Adam Blank, will join Mattress Firm's management and contribute $10 million in equity in exchange for the acquiring company's stock. The rest of the purchase will be handled in cash. Adding Sleepy's will give the Houston-based company almost 3,500 retail stores and 80 distribution centers in 48 states. Mattress Firm also expects to get $40 million in cost savings annually by the third year after the deal closes. - Bloomberg News

Microsoft Office adding tools

Microsoft is trying to convince businesses that Office is more than just Word and PowerPoint. The Seattle-area company is introducing a gold-plated offering to its Web-based Office 365 suite. The new package, set for release Tuesday, will incorporate new conferencing, calling, and management tools to the Skype talk and chat service, along with new security and data-crunching tools. The effort is Microsoft's latest attempt to expand its already large role in the workplace. - Seattle Times

Fed bars bank bailout repeat

Federal Reserve officials have moved to prevent the central bank from bailing out failing companies, a power it exercised during the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed governors voted, 5-0, Monday at a public meeting to downsize the Fed's emergency lending powers. Only broad lending programs designed to revive frozen markets - not loans to individual firms - will be allowed. Financial companies that are in solid shape could benefit from those programs. The Fed spent about $2 trillion on such a program to ease a credit crunch during the financial meltdown. - Associated Press