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• The St Louis Post Dispatch reports that "as many as 2.4 million credit and debit cards used at 79 Schnucks stores may have been compromised over a three-month period, leading to widespread fraudulent charges at locations around the globe," the company has revealed.

According to the story, Schnuck Markets "has been under fire since late last month when reports of unauthorized card use started emerging, with customers seeing charges from a couple of dollars at convenience stores to thousands for high-ticket items at bigger retailers ... But customers, meanwhile, said they were frustrated with the company for failing to inform them of the problem, both before and after the breach was identified. Many expressed outrage over the breach, accusing the company of poor data security. Law enforcement authorities, at one point, urged customers to pay with check or cash."

While Schnuck Markets moved to contain the breach and enhance security after the problem was discovered, "data security experts interviewed by the Post-Dispatch say those standards are not stringent enough to foil the increasingly sophisticated hacker gangs working to steal data. Experts said the problem is so great that the data security industry is scrambling to get ahead of hackers — and, in many cases, the hackers are winning. Regional chains and stores are, increasingly, becoming targets for hackers because they’re perceived as having less formidable security systems."

• The Chicago Tribune reports that "Dollar Menu emphasis, increasing competition and general frustration with a changing business trajectory have made for tension between McDonald's and its U.S. franchisees, according to a survey released Tuesday by Janney Capital Markets.

According to the story, franchisees complain about things like "couponing like there is no tomorrow," and that "every quarter we sell a smaller percentage of our menu at full (and profitable) price." And, the story notes, "Operators also noted increasing competition. Some said the new McWrap sandwiches, grilled or fried chicken with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and a choice of sauces, was performing well, and likely to help margins. But they also complained that it was "an operational nightmare" and slowing service."
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