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Thursday's Afternoon Update

How will retailers cope with a "billion dollar storm?"

For investors, understanding how the weather (both actual and predicted) may affect sales and earnings provides key insights into how a business will “weather” an earnings period or same store sales expectation. While skeptical investors often sneer at the “weather excuse” whenever retailers mention weather as a cause of missed expectations, the reality is the weather does have a significant (and measurable) influence on the timing of sales of seasonal items. Read more from the Weather Channel and see also:

» Hurricane Sandy could boost Brevard business
» Despite Sandy, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Will Go On
» Hurricane Sandy may impact Georgia-Florida game

AutoNation sales up 12 percent

AutoNation sales accelerated sales by 12 percent in its third quarter, the Fort Lauderdale-based nation's largest car and truck retailer said Thursday. Americans have shown they're going to "go on buying vehicles" despite the distraction from the election and the looming fiscal cliff, said Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Floridians split on whether to allow casino gambling

Business Profile

A turn-key business

Northside Lock, Key & Safe is a family operation. Terry and Becky Kuch own it. Daughter Amanda Blankenbicker works there, so does grandson Matthew Thompson. And they do more than just help people locked out of cars or houses.

» More from the Florida Times-Union.

» Official site.

With the presidential election nearing and a referendum slated on whether to allow slot machines in Bonita Springs, a statewide poll finds that 45 percent of Floridans support the creation of Vegas-style casinos in the state. More at the Naples Daily News.

Mortgage aid slow to flow to hardest hit homeowners

Too few homeowners are getting mortgage aid from the $7.6 billion Hardest Hit Fund, according to federal officials who said Florida needs to ramp up approvals to meet its goal of 45,000 helped by 2017. More at the Palm Beach Post.

Space Coast EDC marks 20 years of economic growth

Bob Whelen, a Harris Corp. executive who for the past two years was the EDC’s chairman, noted the economic challenges Brevard faced with the end of the space shuttle program at Kennedy Space Center and the recession that swept the country. Still, the area was able to grow, Whelen said. More at the Florida Today.

On the Plate
New cookbooks focus on Florida fare

meal Our growing season is just beginning, but two new books are already serving up a delicious Florida harvest. In Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans, Pam Brandon and Katie Farmand, the mother-daughter team behind Edible Orlando, Heather McPherson, food editor of The Orlando Sentinel, road-trip the state in pursuit of Florida flavors. In My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, father-son chefs Norman and Justin Van Aken take the regional concept literally to the end of the road.

» More from the Miami Herald