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Consumer News

  1. Bloomin' Brands delivers mixed quarterly performance as diners shy away from casual chains


    TAMPA — The Tampa-based parent company of four major restaurant chains — Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's — reported a mixed performance in its first quarter on Wednesday morning, recording a profit of $43.9 million, up from $34.5 million a year earlier. But Bloomin' also …

    Liz Smith, CEO of Bloomin' Brands
[Handout photo]
  2. Bebe Bye-bye-bye: Chain will close all stores, three in Tampa Bay


    Bebe Stores, a women's clothing chain, is the latest casualty in a spate of retail store closures. In a Securities Exchange Commission filing dated Tuesday, Bebe said by the end of May it will close all of its locations, including three in Tampa Bay.

    Bebe stores nationwide are closing. The location at WestShore Plaza in Tampa is liquidating its entire inventory. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times] .
  3. Lettuce explain why you're paying a dollar more for leafy greens


    The price of leafy greens and other produce from California is soaring, all the way in Florida.

    Lettuce explain.

    Cook Carlos Moran chops lettuce from California at Red Mesa in St. Petersburg on Thursday, April 20, 2017. The restaurant has noticed prices going up on California produce.
  4. Politics hasn't stopped the growth of Ivanka Inc.


    SHANGHAI — Since her father was elected president of the United States, global sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise have surged and her company has applied for at least nine new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. The commercial engine of the first daughter's brand is still humming even as …

    In this photo from July 21, 2016, Ivanka Trump takes the stage during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Since Donald Trump was elected president, sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise have surged, and her company has applied for several new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S.
[Associated Press file photo]
  5. Rue 21 clothing chain to close two Tampa Bay locations, 16 in Florida


    Rue 21, a nationwide teen fashion retailer, announced over the weekend that it will be shuttering hundreds of stores across the United States — including two in the Tampa Bay area.

  6. Retail sales fell in March, second straight monthly drop


    WASHINGTON — Americans pulled back on their spending at auto dealers and restaurants in March, causing retail sales to drop despite signs of a healthy job market.

     Americans pulled back on their spending at auto dealers and restaurants in March, causing retail sales to drop despite signs of a healthy job market.
[Associated Press file photo]
  7. Retailers continue to struggle with no saving grace in sight


    I've written the phrase "it's been a tough year for retail" more times than I can remember.

    What was the Sears store at the Tyrone Square Mall, St. Petersburg, is now vacant. New tenants Lucky's Market and Dick's Sporing Goods will open in the space. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  8. Meet Florida's legal drug cartels


    While Florida voters have overwhelmingly voted to make medical marijuana legal, it's up to the Legislature to translate how it will work. There's a lot at stake. It may seem like a basic humanitarian issue for patients who want simple and affordable access to medical marijuana. But it's not. Why? For one, …

    CHT Medical opened for business in January after receiving a state license in 2016. This month it agreed to sell most or all of its assets to a company tied to Aphria, a large publicly traded Canadian medical marijuana venture.
  9. Regal theaters in Pinellas Park updating seats


    PINELLAS PARK — Regal Entertainment Group announced that Regal Park Place Stadium 16 & RPX is replacing its existing seats with adjustable recliners including padded footrests. During construction, Regal's recliners are on display in the lobby, where guests can experience the new chairs. Regal Cinemas will remain …

  10. Promoting a work family propels Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel to a No. 1 ranking

    Working Life

    Mary Anne Casale has greeted patients and visitors from behind the concierge desk at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel since the day it first opened in 2012.

    Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel President and CEO Denyse Bales-Chubb stands for a portrait along the hospital's third floor atrium view. Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel is the No. 1 employer in the large category for Top Workplaces this year.
[BRENDAN FITTERER  |  Special to the Times]