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Business briefs


April 01. 2013 11:33PM
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Penney focuses on home


J.C. Penney is honing in on its home department as part of a bigger plan to turn its stores into mini-malls of sorts.


The struggling department-store chain is unveiling revamped home areas within its stores that feature 20 boutiques that highlight 50 new brands. The areas will include an eclectic mix of items, from $60 Michael Graves’ stainless steel teakettles to $1,850 Jonathan Adler “Happy Chic” sofas.


The home areas, which Penney will begin to roll out Friday at 500 of its 1,100 stores, are big tests of CEO Ron Johnson’s plan to open separate shops-within-stores for popular designers. The format, which gives department stores more of a mini-mall feel, have been popular at higher-end rivals such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s for years.


Cyprus gets a reprieve


Cyprus’ government spokesman says the country has been granted an extra year — until 2017 — to achieve a targeted budget surplus of 4 percent as part of negotiations with international lenders for a rescue package.


Christos Stylianides said Monday that government negotiators are still looking to extend that by a further year. Under a preliminary agreement with Cyprus’ euro area partners and the IMF, Cyprus had until 2016 to generate the budget surplus target through a raft of spending cuts and tax hikes.


Stylianides also said that negotiators will seek to give businesses access to 40 percent of their deposits over 100,000 euros in Cyprus’ largest lender that are now frozen under a bank restructuring agreement in order to get the country’s moribund economy going again.


Construction up 1.2 % in Feb.


Spending on U.S. construction projects rebounded in February, helped by a surge in home construction, which rose to the highest level in more than four years.


Construction spending rose 1.2 percent overall in February compared to January, when construction had dropped 2.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Monday.


Spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $885.1 billion, which was 7.9 percent higher than a year ago.




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