Yum close to finishing big corporate campus expansion in Plano; and Ford’s China vehicle sales jump 6% year-to-date

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 5:30 p.m.

Entrance to Plano corporate offices, in photo from employment site Glassdoor.

YUM‘s expansion of its Pizza Hut and KFC international corporate campus in Plano, Texas, will boost total space by 60% to 300,000 square feet, with the addition of two three-story buildings. The pizza and fried chicken chains are opening about 1,000 new locations a year, requiring more space for employees.

One of the two new buildings will house a life-sized mock up of a Pizza Hut restaurant for testing everything from diner traffic flow to consumer reaction to artwork. There will also be a new conference room for all the campus’ 450 employees, twice the capacity of the existing conference space.

Greg Creed

Yum CEO Greg Creed and four other top corporate executives are getting new offices above the conference center, too. The five executives now divide their time between Plano, which is 20 miles north of Dallas, and  Louisville, a move in February that raised questions about Yum’s commitment to Louisville. Yum said it was more practical for the top brass to work closer to the company’s two biggest and fast-growing divisions. The corporate campus expansion was disclosed at the time (Dallas Morning News).

The Pizza Hut Division has about 14,000 restaurants in 90 countries and territories outside China. KFC has about 15,000 in 120 countries and territories, also excluding China.

The China Division, based in Shanghai, has about 7,200 restaurants, mostly Pizza Huts and KFCs. Under pressure from an activist investor, Yum is in the process of spinning off the China Division, a process it expects to complete by the end of October.

Pizza Hut and Yum’s international business have been based in Plano since Yum was spun off from PepsiCo in 1997. KFC’s U.S. division remains in Louisville, where the company employs 1,000 workers. Yum’s third division, Taco Bell, is based in southern California’s Irvine. More about Yum in Louisville.

FORD said it sold 577,097 vehicles in China during the year’s first half, a 6% increase from a year ago. Demand for Ford and Lincoln SUVs sales was strong, with combined sales of the Ford EcoSport, Kuga, Edge, Everest and Explorer and Lincoln MKC, MKX and Navigator surpassing 150,000 vehicles, 27% more than a year ago (press release). Ford’s stock closed this afternoon at $12.75, up 1.4% to $12.74.

Last week, Ford said total U.S. sales grew 5% during the year’s first six months, its best first-half performance since 2006. The automaker employs nearly 10,000 workers at truck and auto factories in Louisville.

AMAZON‘s first Prime Day 24-hour sale last year didn’t go off without a hitch. “The company hyped price-breaks on everything from beard growth rubs to nail clippers for large animals, as well as the much-mocked 55-gallon bottle of lube for over $1,000,” says Time magazine. “The overwhelming verdict for the vast majority of Prime Day deals last year was: they kinda sucked.” What to do different for this year’s Prime Day, next Tuesday? Time offers five suggestions (Time). Also, Amazon plans to hire another 1,000 employees in the U.K. at its London head office, research and development centres in Cambridge and Edinburgh and new warehouses in Manchester and Leicestershire — all on top of 2,500 jobs it announced earlier this year (The Telegraph).

In other news, Courier-Journal parent Gannett Co. said it would report second-quarter financial results July 27, followed by a 10 a.m. ET conference call with Wall Street analysts (press release).

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