FINANCE

J.C. Penney’s stock falls amid reports that Q1 same-store sales off 10%

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney Co. shares fell 12% on Tuesday to close at $13.93, and nearly reached their lowest levels since 2001, Reuters reported.

All in all, it was a rough day for Penney as industry analysts debated the surprising decision to replace ousted CEO Ron Johnson with his predecessor, Myron “Mike” Ullman. Also on Tuesday, Dow Jones, citing sources, reported that the department store company’s same-store sales were down more than 10% so far in its first quarter, which still has about a month left.

While Ullman’s return clearly underwhelmed the market, the general consensus of industry analysts was that his appointment was a short-term fix that would give Penney some badly-needed stability — at least for the near future. Ullman has a good reputation in the industry, particularly with vendors, many of whom found Johnson off-putting.

"Ullman makes sense in the interim, given the urgent cash situation. Ullman is also a known partner to the vendors," UBS analyst Michael Binetti wrote in a note on Tuesday.

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REAL ESTATE

Edible Arrangements looks to expand in Pacific Northwest

BY Marianne Wilson

Wallingford, Conn. — Edible Arrangements has set its sights on the Pacific Northwest for an aggressive expansion campaign designed to open as many as 30 new locations in the near future.

Edible Arrangements already has 10 locations in Oregon and Washington and sees significant opportunity for growth, which will be accomplished through franchising. Most of the growth will be focused in the Seattle, Tacoma and Portland areas and the company is currently seeking franchisees with the resources to open multiple locations.

The company currently has more than 1,100 locations in the United States and 14 countries worldwide.

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OPERATIONS

Morgan’s Foods taps Action Services Group for sign/exterior lighting services across six states

BY Staff Writer

Aston, Pa. — Action Services Group, a national retail and commercial lighting, sign and electrical maintenance and service company announced a service agreement with Morgan’s Foods Inc., operator of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Express and A&W restaurants under franchises licenses, to perform sign and exterior lighting service and maintenance for 73 of their franchise units.

The agreement covers on-demand sign and exterior lighting maintenance and repair services for the 73 units located throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Missouri and Illinois.

In addition Action Services Group will provide annual sign and electrical inspection, annual sign cleaning of exterior store signs, and relamping signage and exterior fluorescent lighting once every two years.

Action Services Group provides lighting, sign and electrical maintenance services, re-lamping and LED retrofit services to retail store chains and restaurant chains, commercial building operators and educational and healthcare institutions across the United States and Canada. Using a proprietary, web based service management system, ServicePoint Solutions, Action Services Group stores and tracks all location asset data after the initial service call virtually eliminating return-trip service charges, tracks all product warranty information to maximize cost savings and measures each service call with a customer satisfaction survey at the site level.

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