FINANCE

Court certifies two suits against New York-area Applebee’s stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Kansas City, Mo. — A New York federal court conditionally certified two class action lawsuits alleging that managers of 36 Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill franchise restaurants in the metro New York area systematically altered employee time records to avoid paying minimum and overtime wages to thousands of current and former employees. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak of the Eastern District of New York granted the plaintiffs’ motion for conditional collective action certification.

The court’s order granting conditional certification covers all eligible non-managerial employees who have worked at the 36 restaurants in New York City, and Rockland and Westchester Counties since October 22, 2009. The first case – the "Martin" case – involves a class of all non-managerial employees at the restaurants. The second case – the "Dove" case – involves a sub-class of the same employees who received part of their income in the form of tips.

The workers are represented by The Ottinger Firm P.C.

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REAL ESTATE

Horizon Group, CBL open shopping center in Kentucky

BY Dan Berthiaume

Rosemont, Ill. – Horizon Group Properties Inc. and CBL & Associates Properties Inc. have opened The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, which opened fully leased with 90 stores and eateries. The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass is the only outlet center in the state and is located between Louisville and Lexington on Interstate 64.

The center opened to the public with a wide variety of well-known designer outlets, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Chico’s, Coach, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Vera Bradley and more. Additional stores will be opening in the fall including Gucci, Kate Spade, and Tumi.

The center is expected to draw more than six million visitors a year from the three-state area plus travelers on Interstate 64. Construction on the 375,000-sq.-ft. outlet center began in May 2013.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Babies ‘R’ Us offers breastfeeding services

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – Babies “R” Us has introduced a comprehensive series of services and solutions designed to help new and expectant parents with newborn feeding. The company has partnered with Medela, a manufacturer of breast pumps and postnatal supplies, to provide the Medela Breast Pump Rental Service to parents nationwide.

Now, customers visiting any Babies “R” Us store across the country can work with a store associate to rent the Medela Hospital-Grade Symphony Double Electric Breast Pump for 30, 60 or 90 days. The program remains flexible, with the opportunity to extend a rental after 30 days. Babies “R” Us is also introducing its Breast Pump Solutions Program. Through this program, Babies “R” Us will provide expectant parents an easy-to-use resource to find a breast pump available through their health plan and have it shipped directly to their home.

On Aug. 9, Babies “R” Us stores nationwide will celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month with a "Happy Bonding" event, providing new and expectant moms the opportunity to receive useful information, product giveaways and meet others who are at the same stage of parenthood. Certified event experts, as well as lactation consultants at select stores, will help answer questions about newborn feeding, facilitate discussions about breast pump rentals, and assist guests in navigating the new ACA policies and the options available to them.

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