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Grand opening for store set for today

The grand opening for Carolina Pottery is set for Thursday.

The family-owned home decor and furniture store is offering $50 gift cards to the first 100 customers who shop at the Martinez store, which opens at 10 a.m. The 65,000-square-foot store is in the former Kmart space, 3830 Washington Road, in the West Town Shopping Center. Kmart closed in September.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Carolina Pottery was held Wednesday.

The store officially opened June 7.

Carolina Pottery has three other locations in the Southeast.

Government cuts estimate of growth

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy might not be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to slow its bond purchases later this year.

That’s the takeaway from economists after the government cut its estimate Wednesday of growth in the January-March quarter to a 1.8 percent annual rate, sharply below its previous estimate of a 2.4 percent rate. The main reason: Consumers spent less than previously thought.

Most economists think growth will remain low as consumers and businesses continue to adjust to federal spending cuts and higher taxes. Growth is expected to reach an annual rate of only about 2 percent in the April-June quarter. Even if the economy improves slightly, it would be hard to meet the Fed’s forecast of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent growth for 2013.

Microsoft releases revised Windows 8

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is trying to reverse slumping PC sales and quiet growing criticism of its flagship operating system with the release of a revised version of Windows 8.

On Wednesday, Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for download. It includes alterations meant to address consumer dissatisfaction with the operating system. Analysts believe users’ frustration with Windows 8 is partly to blame for the biggest drop in personal computer sales in nearly two decades.

At a conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that the company pushed hard to get people to adopt a radical new tile-based “Modern” user interface in Windows 8. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to reach and use the older “Desktop” interface.

In other news

MONSANTO’S fiscal third-quarter earnings slipped 3 percent, as hits to the agricultural product maker’s cotton and soybean segments weighed on results.Overall, Monsanto earned $909 million, or $1.68 per share, in the quarter ended May 31, down from $937 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago.

STARBUCKS BARISTAS must share their tips with shift supervisors, but assistant managers are left out in the cold, New York’s highest court ruled Wednesday. The ruling, responding to two lawsuits, backed Starbucks’ policy of divvying up the tips, saying it’s consistent with labor law.

– From staff and wire reports


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