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Aug 18, 2013

Some U.S. feedlots rue loss of “Vitamin Z” Zilmax

Aug 18 (Reuters) – After nearly a decade of relying on
weight-gain feed additives as a lifeline to survival, some of
the 75,000 U.S. cattle feedyards that dot rural America in
places such as Texas and the Great Plains, suddenly must do
without the leading product Zilmax – nicknamed “Vitamin Z.”

Merck & Co’s announcement on Friday that it was
suspending the sale of Zilmax in the United States and Canada
surprised many cattle owners and feedlot operators, who say
Zilmax and other beta-agonists have been a godsend for a
struggling U.S. beef industry that saw overall domestic
consumption fall more than 8 percent between 2002 and 2011.

Aug 16, 2013

Analysis: U.S. retailers say uneven recovery keeps consumers cautious

By Phil Wahba and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – From Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Gap Inc to Macy’s Inc and McDonald’s Corp, chains that cater to middle- and lower-income Americans say they are feeling the pinch of an uneven economic recovery.

A host of retailers have reported tepid sales lately, highlighting the stress that consumers are feeling because of higher payroll taxes, expensive gasoline and a slow job market four years after the U.S. economy started to rebound.

Aug 15, 2013

Wal-Mart sales disappoint as U.S. shoppers curb spending

By Phil Wahba and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a surprise decline in quarterly same-store sales in the United States, its biggest market, after shoppers came in less often because higher taxes and gasoline prices were leaving them with less spending money.

The world’s largest retailer also cut its revenue and profit forecasts for its fiscal year, raising concerns about retail spending as the all-important holiday season nears. It cited weak results from the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, Japan and other international markets that it is relying on for long-term growth.

Aug 13, 2013

Yum feeling the heat in China as July sales tumble

LOS ANGELES/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The heat seems to be getting to KFC parent Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) in China, after the fast-food chain saw China sales slide in July, with some market watchers saying a lack of focus on cooling drinks and ice cream meant diners looked elsewhere as record hot weather gripping the country.

On Monday Yum reported a much steeper-than-expected 13 percent drop in July sales at established restaurants in China as the company strives to bounce back from the double blows of a food safety scare and bird flu outbreak in its top market.

Aug 13, 2013

Exclusive: Video of ‘lame’ cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs

By P.J. Huffstutter and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – At a beef industry conference in Denver last week, the animal health auditor for meat producer JBS USA presented a video showing short clips of cows struggling to walk and displaying other signs of distress. The animals appeared to step gingerly, as if on hot metal, and showed signs of lameness, according to four people who saw the video.

The people in attendance said the video was presented by Dr Lily Edwards-Callaway, the head of animal welfare at JBS USA, as part of a panel discussion on the pros and cons of using a class of drugs known as beta-agonists – the additives fed to cattle in the weeks before slaughter to add up to 30 pounds to bodyweight and reduce fat content in the meat.

Aug 13, 2013

Video of ‘lame’ cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs

Aug 13 (Reuters) – At a beef industry conference in Denver
last week, the animal health auditor for meat producer JBS USA
presented a video showing short clips of cows struggling to walk
and displaying other signs of distress. The animals appeared to
step gingerly, as if on hot metal, and showed signs of lameness,
according to four people who saw the video.

The people in attendance said the video was presented by Dr
Lily Edwards-Callaway, the head of animal welfare at JBS USA, as
part of a panel discussion on the pros and cons of using a class
of drugs known as beta-agonists – the additives fed to cattle in
the weeks before slaughter to add up to 30 pounds to bodyweight
and reduce fat content in the meat.

Aug 12, 2013

Yum’s July China restaurant sales drop more than expected

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – KFC parent Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Monday reported a 13 percent drop in July sales at established restaurants in China, a steeper-than-expected fall after back-to-back blows from a food safety scare and a bird flu outbreak in its most important market.

The July result was something of a setback for Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum, which in recent months had seen same-restaurant sales declines ease.

Aug 8, 2013

McDonald’s July sales just beat, helped by Monopoly, McWraps

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday reported slightly higher-than-expected July sales at established restaurants after the early return of its popular Monopoly promotion and new premium wrap sandwiches helped bring U.S. gains that offset weakness in Europe and Asia.

Investors had hoped that business at the seller of Big Mac hamburgers, french fries and Happy Meals would pick up meaningfully in the second half of this year, when results will compare with lackluster sales from a year ago.

Jul 30, 2013

Fast food workers kick-off multi-city protests for higher pay

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Hundreds of low-wage workers at fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s on Monday protested in the streets of New York, kick-starting a week of demonstrations in several major cities demanding the right to unionize and pressing for a pay raise to $15 per hour – double the federal minimum wage.

Protesters, many who earn less than the $11 per hour threshold many economists consider the cutoff for poverty-level wages, said they had nothing to lose by speaking out against their employers.

Jul 30, 2013

U.S. fast food workers kick-off multi-city protests for higher pay

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Hundreds of low-wage workers at fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s on Monday protested in the streets of New York, kick-starting a week of demonstrations in several major cities demanding the right to unionize and pressing to double the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Protesters, many who earn less than the $11 per hour threshold many economists consider the cutoff for poverty-level wages, said they had nothing to lose by speaking out against their employers.

    • About Lisa

      "Lisa writes about restaurants and grocery stores. She is based in Los Angeles and previously has covered computer software, Internet companies, video games, prescription drugs and municipal bonds."
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