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Business Highlights

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Ford Europe sales fall as economy struggles

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ Ford Motor Co.'s problems in Europe are worsening thanks to the region's faltering economy.

The Dearborn, Mich., company said Thursday that auto industry sales in the region through July were the lowest in 17 years as automakers battled for sales in a declining market.

Ford sold 83,100 vehicles last month in 19 European countries, down 12.3 percent from a year earlier. For the first seven months of the year, sales were down 10.6 percent. Total industry sales fell 7.1 percent through July, the lowest level since 1995, Ford said in a statement.

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Gap's 2Q profit up 29 percent

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Gap Inc. reported a 29 percent increase in second-quarter net income as the fashion retailer's moves to liven up its clothing attracted shoppers back to its stores.

Gap, which operates stores under its namesake, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, also raised its full-year profit guidance on Thursday, though it was below what analysts had expected.

The company, based in San Francisco, has struggled for years to reclaim its fashion status. But the latest results offer more confidence that a comeback, started in the first quarter, is taking hold. The company has stepped up its marketing and this spring and summer pushed trendy clothing like brightly colored jeans.

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Sears narrows loss on cost cuts; sales decline

Sears Holding Corp.'s push to turn around its ailing business is showing early signs of paying off, even as the retailer failed to stem declining sales.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company said Thursday that aggressive cost-cutting and reduced inventory levels helped narrow its loss in the second quarter from a year ago, with results in line with Wall Street expectations.

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Schulze presses Best Buy in quest for takeover

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Best Buy Co. co-founder Richard Schulze said Thursday that he is committed to his offer for the electronics retailer and has heard from a number of private equity firms prepared to make "significant commitments."

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