McDonald's puts up hefty numbers

CHICAGO — McDonald's logged its 13th consecutive month of positive same-store sales and topped Wall Street profit and revenue expectations for the third quarter.

The world's biggest burger chain earned $1.64 billion, or $2.10 per share. That's 12 cents better than analysts had projected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue of $5.37 billion, though down from the same period last year, also beat expectations. The company has been turning company-owned restaurants into franchises, which pulls on its revenue numbers.

"Putting to one side the decline in revenue, which is a function of McDonald's transferring company-owned restaurants into franchises, this is a reasonable set of results for the burger giant," said Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail. "Overall comparable sales growth is solid, with both the US and international divisions contributing to the uplifts."

Same-store sales for McDonald's Corp. rose 2.4 percent, which was shy of most estimates.

Walmart to upgrade 3rd-party deals

NEW YORK — Walmart says it will work with third-party sellers to make millions of items available for free two-day shipping on orders over $35.

The company is also simplifying the returns process for eligible products bought from marketplace sellers. That includes allowing shoppers to return the items at any one of its 4,700 stores.

Previously, only select items were eligible for free two-day shipping.

Walmart will begin to roll out the improvements in mid-November as it seeks to better compete with online leader Amazon ahead of the holidays.

Amazon already allows its sellers to offer free two-day shipping. Last year, more than half the items sold on Amazon were from third-party sellers.

Walmart doesn't break out how many third-party sellers it has, but its website sells 75 million items from them.

Target offers holiday shipping deal

NEW YORK — Target will be offering two-day shipping with no minimum purchase this holiday, raising the stakes in the delivery wars during the busiest shopping season of the year.

The offer, announced Tuesday, will start Nov. 1 and end Dec. 22. It's part of the retailer's overall strategy to expand its delivery services from curbside pickup to same-day delivery for customers as it competes with such rivals as Walmart and online leader Amazon.

The move comes as the Minneapolis-based retailer has been reporting strong sales growth both at stores and online, helped in part by its online delivery services as well as its efforts to remodel stores.

With last year's $550 million acquisition of delivery service Shipt, Target has expanded its same-day delivery of groceries and other merchandise to 200 markets, up from 160 markets in August. It's also expanding its curbside pickup service to nearly 1,000 stores by the end of this month, ahead of schedule.

Target has been a laggard when it comes to two-day delivery.

Uber Eats sets 70% goal for US

NEW YORK —  Uber says its Eats restaurant food delivery service will grow to cover 70 percent of the U.S. population by the end of 2018.

The ride-hailing company says the three-year-old service started this year delivering food in 98 U.S. metro areas. By year's end it will grow to 243. The service now covers about half the U.S. population mainly in large metro areas. The expansion will be into smaller cities.

Uber executive Jason Droege says orders last month were 10 times more than September of 2016. Eats is part of Uber's plan to use its app expertise to create new businesses and build revenue.

The company charges consumers $1.99 to $7 for delivery based mainly on travel time from restaurants, which also are charged. It's now in about 350 cities worldwide.

MoviePass to be jettisoned by parent

NEW YORK — MoviePass, the struggling discount movie ticket subscription service, is being spun off by the company that owns it.

Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. did not try to obscure the reasons why on Tuesday. MoviePass has become a burden.

MoviePass drew in millions of subscribers, luring them with a $10 monthly rate. But that proved costly. Because MoviePass typically pays theaters the full cost of tickets — $15 or more in big cities — a single movie can put the service in the red. At one point Helios and Matheson had to take out a $5 million emergency loan to pay its payment processors after missed payments resulted in service outages.

Then, last week, the company acknowledged that it is being investigated by the New York Attorney General on allegations that it misled investors.

Helios and Matheson, based in New York, says it does not believe it has misled anyone, and has filed all public disclosures in a timely and truthful manner.

MoviePass Entertainment is expected to list on the Nasdaq or an alternate trading market.

Big NYC Ferris wheel is grounded

NEW YORK — A giant Ferris wheel that was supposed to lure tourists to New York City's least populous borough has been grounded.

A spokeswoman for the New York Wheel developers confirmed Tuesday that the 630-foot (192-meter) wheel planned for the Staten Island shorefront "will unfortunately not come to fruition."

The developers have been battling contractor Mammoet-Starneth in court since the project was halted in May 2017. Four 100-ton pedestals are all that's been erected at the site to date.

The New York Wheel was one of several giant Ferris wheels planned for sites around the world following the success of the 443-foot London Eye.

A total of $450 million in private funds had been invested in the wheel. Some $206 million came from EB-5 investors hoping to win U.S. citizenship.

Allegiant Air settles evacuation lawsuit

NEW YORK — Allegiant Air is settling a lawsuit filed by a captain who was fired after ordering an emergency evacuation when smoke was detected coming from one of the plane's engines.

Allegiant and a lawyer for Jason Kinzer declined comment Tuesday on terms of the confidential settlement reached just before a scheduled trial in a Nevada court. In 2015, Kinzer circled back to St. Petersburg, Fla., shortly after takeoff. He ordered an evacuation after an emergency worker reported engine smoke. Allegiant said it wasn't necessary to evacuate, and several passengers were hurt on escape slides.

The incident received extensive coverage and was the focus of a CBS "60 Minutes" report in April that questioned safety at Allegiant.

Kinzer's lawyer says his client is now an instructor at American Airlines subsidiary Envoy Air.

Honey Smacks are back after recall

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg's Honey Smacks is returning to shelves following a voluntarily recall after salmonella infected 100 people in 33 states.

The company announced on Monday the cereal will return next month in limited quantities with "a simpler, updated recipe." The company says production was moved to a "trusted and tested Kellogg-owned facility that has been reliably producing cereal for decades."

The recall was issued in June. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 30 of the people infected in the outbreak were hospitalized. Salmonella usually causes fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

J&J deal expands Japan presence

NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson is paying about $2 billion in cash for the outstanding stake of a Japanese cosmetics and skincare products company. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based health care products company already owns about 20 percent of Ci:z Holdings Co.

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that buying Ci:z gives it a stronger position by "leveraging one of the largest customer relationship management databases for direct-to-consumer skincare in Japan." It also gives the company more distribution and expansion opportunities.

The buyout is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

Dyson to build electric cars in Asia

LONDON — Dyson, the British company best known for vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, said Tuesday it will build its new electric car in Singapore as it joins the increasingly crowded race to create the next generation of clean vehicles.

The manufacturing facility is due for completion in 2020 and is part of a $3.2 billion investment in new technology globally.

Dyson did not say what kind of a car it hoped to produce, or how many a year. But it is set to at least try to get a foothold in the electric car industry, where visionaries like Elon Musk at Tesla have struggled to translate ideas into profits.

The location in Singapore would put Dyson close to the big and growing Chinese market, where carmakers are increasingly focusing sales. The country is preparing a big shift to electric cars to fight its heavy levels of pollution and to modernize the economy.

Wire reports