Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Upset tummies in the food sector?

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mcd1Check out sluggish results in the U.S. food sector.

Fast food giant McDonald’s and Kroger, the largest U.S. grocery chain, saw shares decline 2.5 percent and 10 percent, respectively, after reporting weak results.

McDonald’s said same-store sales at its U.S. restaurants slipped 0.6 percent in November, marking the second straight monthly decline. Following Yum Brands’ recent weaker-than-expected sales, it was the latest sign that the fast-food sector that had performed well through most of the recession was weakening.

Rising unemployment has begun to take a noticeable bite out of sales, particularly at breakfast — where McDonald’s leads the industry.

Kroger reported a much lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecast as it feels pressure from falling food prices and stepped up competition.

The tequila sunrise could soon set

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agave.jpgInvestors — and drinkers — got sobering news on Thursday when Brown-Forman described how agricultural difficulties rocking Mexican farmers hurt the bottom line of the company, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brown-Forman saw a big part of its first-quarter profit guzzled by a $22 million charge it had to take to deal with an abnormal number of dead or dying agave plants, which it uses to make its Herradura and el Jimador tequilas.

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