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McDonalds spending $1 billion revamping Canada outlets

NEW YORK – McDonald’s Corp. said Wednesday it will pump $1 billion into renovating its Canadian restaurants, hoping it can reinvigorate itself in Canada as it has in the U.S.

The world’s largest burger chain said the changes, including fireplaces and flat-screen TVs, will create “more inviting and relevant” restaurants. Dining rooms will be divided to accommodate for large groups and those who want to linger over the free Wi-Fi access. The company will be using new color schemes, stone and tile accents and wood tones, but said that “splashes” of the chain’s traditional colors will remain.

McDonald’s doesn’t break out how its Canadian restaurants perform, but groups them with Latin America and corporate activities. That group’s revenue rose 22 percent in the second quarter. But at $405 million, it accounted for just 6 percent of the company’s total second-quarter revenue of $6.9 billion.

Associated Press

Dendreon to discuss restructuring

SEATTLE – Seattle biotech Dendreon Corp., which warned of layoffs last month after reporting sales far short of its ambitious projections, has scheduled a conference call for Thursday to discuss a “company restructuring.”

The closely watched company ballooned in less than two years from 180 employees to about 2,000. It has built centers in New Jersey, Atlanta and Los Angeles to process the cells of prostate-cancer patients for its unique immune-system therapy.

But Dendreon reported in early August that quarterly gross revenue were only $51 million, about $7 million short of analysts’ expectations, and it withdrew earlier projections that sales for the year would rocket to $350 million or $400 million.

On Tuesday it disclosed the cancellation of a contract calling for GlaxoSmithKline to supply large quantities of the antigen that’s used in its Provenge therapy.

Associated Press

Economy growing, Fed finds

WASHINGTON – Despite the turmoil that shook the financial markets last month, the Federal Reserve says its 12 bank regions grew this summer because consumers spent more in many parts of the country.

The Fed said five of its regions reported modest or slight growth in late July and August. Those regions included St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco.

The seven other regions described growth as subdued, slow or sluggish.

The survey, released Wednesday, is known as the Beige Book and offers mostly anecdotal information on economic conditions around the country. Its findings were a slight improvement from the previous survey, which said growth had slowed in eight of the 12 regions in June and early July.

Consumer spending increased in most regions from the previous survey. But the gains were mostly due to stronger auto sales.

Associated Press