BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

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AIRPORT VIPs

NEW YORK â¿¿ Just as they've made first class more enjoyable with new seats, tastier meals and bigger TVs, airlines are focusing on easing the misery of airports for their highest-paying customers and giving them a truly elite experience. At a growing number of airports, special agents will meet these celebrities, high-powered executives and wealthy vacationers at the curb and will privately escort them from check-in to security to boarding. There is a lot of money on the line. At big airlines like American, 70 percent of the revenue comes from 20 percent of its customers. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

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BRANCH OF THE FUTURE

NEW YORK â¿¿ In an age when checks can be deposited by smartphone and almost everyone retrieves cash from ATMs, the corner bank can seem a relic. But some banking executives say the brick-and-mortar branch is still the best way to serve existing customers and snag new ones. New branches will be hip, airy spaces where customers sign in to ATMs with a tap of their smartphones and talk to off-site tellers by video. They will also help banks replace expensive workers with cheaper machines. By Business Writer Christina Rexrode.

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â¿¿ BRANCH OF THE FUTURE-GLANCE

JC PENNEY-WHAT'S NEXT

NEW YORK â¿¿ There won't be an easy fix for J.C. Penney. Less than two years after turning the reins over to Ron Johnson, Mike Ullman is back to try to undo the damage of a disastrous overhaul that has driven away shoppers. The 66-year-old Ullman has to quickly figure out what parts of Johnson's legacy to keep and what to trash. The overarching question is whether the century-old retailer can be saved at all. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

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