OPERATIONS

Ex-Wal-Mart Exec Pleads Guilty to Fraud

BY CSA STAFF

Fort Smith, Ark., Tom Coughlin, former vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges on Tuesday, admitting that he stole money, gift cards and merchandise from the world’s largest retailer.

Coughlin, 57, faces a maximum of 28 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. He also could be fined $1.35 million. The judge ordered a presentencing report that will take up to 14 weeks to prepare. In documents filed with the court, Coughlin specifically admitted defrauding the company to pay for the care of his hunting dogs, lease a private hunting area, upgrade his pickup truck, buy liquor and a cooler, and receive $3,100 in cash.

The former executive said his guilty plea was in the best interest of his family, friends and community.

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Chico’s FAS Acquires Fitigues

BY CSA STAFF

Fort Myers, Fla., Chico’s FAS announced Monday that it has acquired 12 of 14 retail locations of the Arizona-based clothing retailer Fitigues for an undisclosed price. The stores will operate as a new branded division of Chico’s.

“By bringing Fitigues under the Chico’s umbrella, we can provide the necessary capital, back office operations assistance, and leverage needed to successfully expand this brand across America over the next several years,” said Scott A. Edmonds, Chico’s president and chief executive.

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OPERATIONS

Walgreens Sued by Pharmacists

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill., Alleging they were illegally fired, four Walgreens pharmacists have sued the company. The terminations came after the pharmacists refused to sign a pledge promising to dispense the morning-after birth control pill.

A new Illinois law requires that, for emergency birth control, federally approved contraceptives be filled “without delay” if a pharmacy has the medication in stock. The rule is being challenged in federal court.

An attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement, “It couldn’t be any clearer. In punishing these pharmacists for asserting a right protected by the Conscience Act, Walgreens broke the law.”

However, Walgreens has countered by saying it is upholding the current statute. “We are required to follow the law,” said company spokesman Michael Polzin. “We don’t have a choice in the matter.”

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