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  1. JCPenney to close 130-140 stores, plus Lakeland distribution center

    Retail

    Long-struggling JCPenney announced Friday morning it is closing 130 to 140 stores nationwide in the next few months, in addition to shuttering its distribution center in Lakeland.

    This Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, photo shows a sale sign in a JCPenney store in Pittsburgh. The store announced on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, that it was closing 130-140 stores, including a Lakeland distribution center. [Associated Press]
  2. MOSI brings back pay for a day ticket deal starting Saturday

    Events

    Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry is bringing back its pay for a day ticket deal starting Saturday, giving guests free admission for the rest of the year with one admission ticket.

    Finnegan Dunn and Gracen Cole play in a "glowing rocks" tunnel exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa in 2015. [LOREN ELLIOT   |   Times (2015)]
  3. New poll says Publix has the third best reputation among U.S. companies

    Retail

    TAMPA — A well-known Florida company has climbed to having the third best reputation among the most visible companies in the United States.

    Publix opened a Starbucks cafe inside the store in the Gandy Shopping Center in Tampa. [JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Times]
  4. Pummeled in 2016, HSN's Mindy Grossman looks for year of growth regeneration for shopping service

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — Like a lot of Americans, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman is happy to say goodbye to 2016. It was not the best of times for her home-shopping empire.

    Rod Little, who started as HSN's new chief financial officer in January, participated in his first quaterly conference call with analysts on Wednesday with HSN CEO Mindy Grossman. [Handout photo]
  5. Tampa Bay's first Sprouts Farmers Market opens Wednesday

    Retail

    TAMPA — The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Sprouts Farmers Market in the Carrollwood Commons shopping plaza in Tampa Tuesday was the produce section.

    The Sprouts Farmers Market, known for a wide variety of produce options, on Wednesday is opening its first Tampa Bay location at 15110 Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
[CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  6. Parent of Burger King, Tim Hortons to buy Popeyes for $1.8 billion

    Retail

    NEW YORK — The parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons is buying Popeyes for $1.8 billion, with plans to accelerate the growth of the fried chicken chain.

     Restaurant Brands International says it's buying Popeyes for $1.8 billion, bringing the chicken chain under the same corporate umbrella as Burger King and Tim Hortons. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  7. SoHo, Hyde Park retail expansion includes new Montecristo cigar store

    Retail

    TAMPA — South Howard is getting a cigar bar.

    Construction barricades, cones and heavy equipment line West Swann Avenue in the Hyde Park area of Tampa. Developers say the work is nearly finished. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  8. There are acres of leafy greens inside these shipping crates on an old St. Petersburg junkyard

    Consumer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The would-be farmers bought three transoceanic refrigerated shipping containers, just a little dinged up, for $6,500 each.

    Shannon O’Malley, an owner of Brick Street Farms, stands with heirloom lettuces growing under daytime LED lights.
  9. Tampa parent of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's can't stem loss of customers

    Retail

    Bloomin' Brands, Tampa's beleaguered parent of such big-name restaurant chains as Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, must feel like it's been wandering the casual dining bog in search of solid ground for years.

    Alas, there's no sign of dry land yet.

    Bloomin' Brands has been struggling, led by a 7.7 percent fourth quarter and 5.7 percent 2016 drop in customer traffic at its Outback Steakhouse chain.
{File photo from Bloomin' Brands]
  10. Why would these two St. Petersburg entrepreneurs want to open a used bookstore in the Internet age?

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG —The age of Amazon and online shopping has left a litany of retail casualties in its wake.

    Tim Russell, foreground, and his partner Bobby Hauske, sort through books at the 321-books.com warehouse at 4143 118th Ave N in Clearwater. The business is a reseller of used books which are catalogued and resold by the company at a high volume on Amazon.com. The company in March is opening a used bookstore at the Tyrone Square Mall, with plans to have more than 100,000 books on the shelves.
[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]