SC business notebook

April 5, 2013 

KFC-Going Boneless

This image provided by KFC shows the company's new boneless chicken. KFC will offer new boneless pieces of chicken as an alternative to its traditional breast, thigh and drumstick pieces. The chain says the offering reflects the growing popularity of easier-to-eat chicken strips and nuggets.

UNCREDITED — ASSOCIATED PRESS

KFC introducing boneless chicken pieces

In case Americans want to scarf their fast-food even faster, KFC is stripping the bones out of its chicken.

The fast-food chain says it’s introducing deep-fried boneless chicken pieces on April 14 as an alternative to its traditional breast, thigh and drumstick pieces.

The new offering reflects the growing popularity of nuggets and strips that are easier to eat on the go, as well as Americans’ seemingly endless desire for more convenient foods. KFC says nearly four out of five servings of chicken sold in the U.S. are now boneless.

Based on customer trends, the chain says bones could eventually disappear from its menu.

Although KFC has more than 18,000 locations worldwide, the boneless chicken will only be offered in its 4,500 U.S. locations.

The new chicken is skinless and comes in white or dark meat, are whole muscle pieces fileted off the bone and are about twice the size of KFC’s crispy strips.

U.S. trade deficit narrows

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in February, driven by a drop in crude oil imports and an increase in American goods and services exported abroad, the Commerce Department said Friday.

With exports rising more than imports, the seasonally adjusted trade deficit was $43 billion in February, down from a revised $44.5 billion the previous month.

The 3.4 percent decline in the trade deficit was below analyst expectations that the deficit would rise slightly to $44.6 billion.

Consumers rein in credit cards

Americans borrowed more in February to buy cars and attend school, but were more careful with their credit cards.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumer borrowing rose $18.2 billion in February from January. That’s up from a gain of $12.7 billion in the previous month.

The increase brought total borrowing to a seasonally adjusted $2.8 trillion. That’s up from $2.78 trillion in January and a new record.

Nearly all of the gains were in a category that covers student and auto loans. That grew by $17.6 billion, up from $11.1 billion in January.

Consumers stayed cautious with their credit card debt in February. That category increased just $533 million after a gain of $1.7 billion in January.

Government air travel spending tumbles

U.S. government spending on air travel probably fell as much as 30 percent in the past month amid congressionally mandated budget cuts that threaten to keep weighing on the industry, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst said.

Demand from federal employees may stay at this level or even lower “in perpetuity,” JPMorgan’s Jamie Baker wrote Friday in a note to clients in which he estimated that the government accounts for 3 percent to 4 percent of airline revenue. He pared his full-year revenue projections by as much as 3 percent.

Declining fuel prices may temper the fallout, he said.

The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News contributed

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