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5 Big Business Stories of the Week

1. Tourism ranks diminish

Tampa Bay & Co., Hillsborough County's tourism promoter, reports the largest drop in existing members since 2002.

What it means: Most of the group's members are small businesses, which are hard-pressed to pay membership dues when the economy slows.

2. Rice rationing

reaches bay area

Wholesalers like Costco and Sam's Club begin restricting purchases of bulk rice.

What it means: Amid soaring rice prices and a global shortage, wholesalers want to fend off stockpiling by customers.

3. Owner of Arby's buys

Wendy's for $2.3-billion

The fast-food chains will be controlled by Triarc Cos.

What it means: Wendy's had cut staff, sold and spun off

some operations, but succumbed to Triarc's third attempt to

buy the company.

4. Delta and Northwest report combined $10.5-billion loss

The two would-be partners highlight their fiscal weakness as they make their merger pitch to Congress.

What it means: A merger won't stop the effect of surging fuel costs. Delta's CEO predicts fares will rise 15 to 20 percent.

5. Toyota overtakes GM

After inching closer for years, Toyota posts higher auto sales than General Motors in the first quarter, aiming to take the 2008 title.

What it means: Bragging rights are nice, but both automakers face the reality of a drop in U.S. sales.

Compiled by Jeff Harrington, Times deputy business editor

5 Big Business Stories of the Week 04/26/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:34am]
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