OPERATIONS

Ax falls at Best Buy; cutting 400 headquarters jobs

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy Co. announced it is cutting 400 jobs at its headquarters as part of its “Renew Blue” transformation efforts.

The job reductions are part of a move to save $150 million in selling, general and administrative costs. The cuts are the first phase of the larger cost-cutting plan that new CEO Hubert Joly announced at an investor and analyst meeting last November. At that time, he said that Best Buy would remove $725 million in costs. This $150 million reduction is the first phase of the initiative, with additional reductions to come during the year.

Best Buy said it will offer more details on its cost reduction efforts when it reports fourth-quarter results on March 1. The chain had planned to report earnings Feb. 28, but it postponed the reporting release by one day to see whether founder Richard Schulze will bid for the company.

Best Buy “wants to allow for the expiration of the period of time that Schulze has to respond to the company,” Jeffrey Shelman, a company spokesman, told Bloomberg.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart Stores sued by five women in Wisconsin for gender bias

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Five women in Wisconsin have filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores, claiming the retailer denied them and other female employees equal pay and equal opportunities, the Journal Sentinel reported. The suit, which also seeks class-action status, claims Wal-Mart discriminated against female employees in the chain’s Region 14, which includes stores in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

“Women at Wal-Mart were told by management that women deserved less pay and fewer promotions than men because men had families to support,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Jim Kaster of Minneapolis-based Nichols Kaster PLLP, said in a press statement.

The complaint was filed at the U.S. courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 20, which is the same day a similar case was dismissed as untimely by a federal judge in Nashville, Tenn.

It is the fifth regional class-action against Wal-Mart since the Supreme Court struck down the attempted national class action (Dukes v. Wal-Mart case) in 2011.

"We’ve said all along that if someone believes they have been treated unfairly, they deserve to have their timely, individual claims heard in court," Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said in the report. "These individual claims being made by the plaintiffs just don’t match the positive experiences that hundreds of thousands of women have had working at Walmart. We continue to be a great place for women to work and advance."

The case is Ladik v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 13-cv-123, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

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News

Cosmetic brand relaunches U.S. website

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — L’Oréal Paris is relaunching LorealParisUSA.com, which will include a first-to-market content production and syndication partnership with AOL, the company said Tuesday.

The company described the site as the first major one to be designed for all devices, making it easy to navigate for users on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

The site is designed to share product and content recommendations based on stated characteristics, individual preferences and observed behavior. For example, if a user selects "green eyes" from her desktop computer, the site will suggest complimentary cosmetic products and educational content on her phone while she’s in the drug store aisle.

"L’Oreal Paris’ mission, as the leader in beauty product innovation, is to help women become their most confident and beautiful," L’Oreal Paris USA president Karen Fondu said. "Today, we are applying the same expertise to our digital presence with the debut of the new LOrealParisUSA.com. We know the way women shop and live is changing rapidly every day, so we created the ultimate digital beauty experience that seamlessly adapts to her needs."

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