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• The New York Times reports that JC Penney's fortunes appear to be more tenuous than ever, as it appears that its stores and products are not resonating with shoppers at the same time as arguments concluded in the court case dealing with whether Penney and Martha Stewart Omnimedia violated the terms of Stewart's contract with Macy’s when they agreed to establish Stewart boutiques within its stores.

It has, of course, been a tough year for Penney. The company fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, who had been hired to reinvent the company, when things did not turn around fast enough, and then rehired Myron E. Ullman III, who Johnson had replaced.


• The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 50,000 pounds of ground beef produced by the National Beef Co. in Kansas City and sold to retailers has been recalled because of concerns about possible E. coli contamination.


USA Today reports that the share price for Sprouts more than doubled in the first day of trading, going from the initial pricing of $18 per share to close at $40.11.

The story notes that "the strong performance of Sprouts is yet another vote of confidence for the organic and natural food business. The company sells a variety of fresh produce, vitamins and meats targeted at consumers interested in adjusting their food to be healthier. Investors are hopeful the company could grow dramatically, perhaps increasing its number of stores tenfold."


• The Huffington Post reports that KFC is opening a new concept in Louisville, Kentucky, called KFC Eleven, which is a fast-casual restaurant that serves an entirely different menu of items.

"Notably absent from KFC Eleven is the fried chicken bucket, or any bone-in chicken at all, for that matter ... Gone, too, are the chain's famous biscuits. Mashed potatoes have been given an upscale makeover: Now they're 'smashed' and infused with garlic. Other menu items include grilled or fried chicken sandwiches, in flavors like Original 11, California Club, BBQ Bacon Ranch and Habanero Jack. Chicken 'Crispy Bites' are served with dipping sauces like Orange Ginger, Kickin' Buffalo and Island BBQ."

The company is said to be planning a second location in Louisville before the end of the year, but beyond that the company is being tight-lipped about roll-out plans.
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