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Window Shopping: business briefs for June 19

Yum's profits drop in China
Published: July 19, 2012
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Yum's profits drop in China

The owner of the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC chains said its second-quarter net income rose 5 percent on strong sales in its U.S. business. But the restaurant company reported a rare profit decline in its key China market. Yum Brands Inc. said Wednesday that high inflation caused a 4 percent profit decline in China, adjusted for currency fluctuations. U.S. operating profit was up 26 percent amid strong sales at Taco Bell. Yum reported net income of $331 million, or 69 cents per share, in the three months ended June 16. That's up from $316 million, or 65 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 12 percent to nearly $3.2 billion.

Bikinis buys a Texas town

Bikinis isn't just a restaurant anymore. Now it's a city, too. Doug Guller, owner of the Austin-based bar and restaurant chain, has purchased Bankersmith, a long-abandoned town in northwestern Kendall County, renaming it Bikinis, Texas. The purchase price and seller weren't disclosed. Guller said the deal came together after he saw an online ad on Craigslist. The unincorporated town is six miles southwest of Luckenbach. Guller said he plans to regularly host events in the newly renamed town. As of 1949, there were just 20 reported residents. Today, there are none.

Glitch tests airline price rule

It was an airfare deal too good to be true: fly first class to Hong Kong for just four frequent flier miles and $33 in taxes. Clearly, it was a computer glitch. But it's also turning out to be the first major test of the Department of Transportation's new consumer protection rules prohibiting airlines from “increasing the price after the consumer completes the purchase.” Sunday, computers at United Airlines erroneously let passengers book flights to Hong Kong — or other places in Asia connecting in Hong Kong — in exchange for four miles, plus government taxes. Frequent fliers quickly shared the error online. A business class seat for a flight on United to Hong Kong goes for about $8,500 or 120,000 frequent flier miles; first class costs $10,250 or 140,000 miles.

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