business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"The Supreme Court on Thursday said lawsuits could proceed alleging that the supermarket chains Safeway and Supervalu defrauded the government by claiming Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements at list price for drugs that they typically sold to consumers at steeply discounted rates.

"Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Clarence Thomas said the central question in the suits wasn’t if a reasonable person hypothetically could have misunderstood the reimbursement rules, but rather if the executives actually did. And evidence suggested that the supermarkets knew they were cheating the program and took steps to hide it, he wrote.

"The decision 'sends a strong signal to anybody who would try to exploit legal ambiguities to cheat the public that such tactics won’t fly,' said Tejinder Singh, who argued the cases for whistleblowers who filed suit under the False Claims Act. 'I’m hopeful that today’s decision will help promote honesty, transparency and accountability in the administration of government programs'."

•  From the Associated Press:

"The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but remains at healthy levels that continue to show a strong US labor market.

"US applications for jobless claims were 232,000 for the week ending May 27, an increase of just 2,000 from the previous week.  The weekly claims numbers are considered representative of the number of US layoffs.

"The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens out some of the week-to-week volatility, fell by 2,500 to 229,500."

•  In the UK, the Retail Gazette reports that supermarket chain Sainsbury's and baked goods retailer Greggs "have partnered for the first time for an in-store concession.

"The new Greggs shop has opened inside a Sainsbury’s Biggleswade petrol station, located in Biggleswade … Both the baked goods retailer and the supermarket chain are expected to open further concessions together later this year throughout the UK."

Sainsbury’s food commercial director Rhian Bartlett tells the Gazette, “We’ve launched this new concept as part of our ongoing plan to transform our takeaway food offer with top brands – bringing even more innovative and delicious food and drink to our customers."