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MarketWatch reports that following what is called "bad harvests this year from unruly weather" in Italy, Spain and Greece - the European countries with reputations for high-quality olive oil - California is filling the void as it simultaneously improves its olive oil reputation and increases its output.

“More and more people are aware of the high standards we have and embracing locally produced products,” said Patricia Darragh, executive director of the Berkeley-based California Olive Oil Council, which performs "rigid certification testing" that includes "a chemical analysis of the oil as well as a sensory evaluation after every olive harvest."

The story goes on to say that "more domestic players are joining the U.S. olive oil production business, which has seen a 9.2% increase in revenue over the past five years, and demand and revenue are expected to continue to rise through 2021, though at a slower pace, according to research firm IBISWorld. California alone makes up more than 99% of U.S. olive oil production."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "the private-equity owners of BJ’s Wholesale Club are preparing for a possible multibillion-dollar deal for the warehouse-club operator. Leonard Green & Partners LP and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. are in the process of hiring investment bankers to advise on options including a full sale or initial public offering of BJ’s, according to people familiar with the matter."

BJ’s has more than 210 membership-based warehouse clubs in 15 states in the eastern US, and has more than $11 billion in annual sales.

• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its monthly consumer confidence survey, saying that "a majority of Americans (57%) are optimistic about the economy as gas prices fell by 5 cents per gallon over the past month." That is "13 percentage points higher than last February, when 44% were optimistic. More than three-quarters (76%) of all consumers say that gas prices, which fell from $2.30 to $2.25 over the past 30 days, play a role in their feelings about the economy."
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