Home Depot settles National Guard case
New York — The Justice Department and The Home Depot have reached a settlement in a case where the government accused the retailer of unlawfully terminating an employee who was a member of the Army National Guard.
An Iraqi war veteran who lived in Flagstaff, Ariz., Brian Bailey worked as a department supervisor while at the same time serving in the California Army National Guard. Throughout his employment with Home Depot, Bailey took periodic leave from work to fulfill his military obligations with the National Guard. According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Bailey was removed from his position as a department supervisor after Home Depot management officials at the Flagstaff store openly expressed their displeasure with his periodic absences due to his military service. The DOJ also claims that store management threatened to remove him from his position because of those absences.
These alleged actions are violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
The agreement, which still must be approved by the federal district court, states that Home Depot will provide Bailey with $45,000 in monetary relief and make changes to its Military Leaves of Absence policy. The settlement further mandates that Home Depot review its Military Leaves of Absence policy with managers from the district where Bailey worked.
This case was handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.
Former Martha Stewart Living editor takes lead creative role at Williams-Sonoma
San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma has appointed former editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Everyday Food Anna Last as the chain’s SVP and executive creative director. Last will oversee all facets of the brand’s expression in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, on Williams-sonoma.com and in the brand’s store environments.
“As executive creative director, Anna will provide guidance on the full spectrum of the Williams-Sonoma sensory experience – everything we see, touch, taste and smell,” said Richard Harvey, Williams-Sonoma brand president. “Her wealth of experience in food, entertaining, style and the art of storytelling will make our catalog, our website and our stores richer experiences for our customers.”
At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Last oversaw the creative and editorial direction of Everyday Food, where she established an impressive track record engaging consumers and creating a compelling brand experience through the creation of beautiful, simple and sophisticated imagery and content across multiple platforms.
In addition, Last served as senior style editor for Real Simple magazine, contributing editor at Marie Claire Australia and food editor for Vogue Entertaining + Travel. Last holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Australian National University.
Walmart tops list of most valuable retail brands
New York — Walmart topped the list retailers on the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, according to a study commissioned by WPP Group and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study identifies and ranks the world’s most valuable 100 brands by their dollar value, an analysis based on financial data combined with consumer measures of brand equity.
Walmart earned its top spot (No. 17 out of all global brands) by meeting the needs of the digitally connected consumer in a number of ways, including rebalancing its portfolio between online and physical activity and offering mobile customers with no credit the opportunity to order goods direct from their phones and pay when they are picked up in store.
This strategy has helped Walmart move up one place in the retail ranking knocking Amazon from the top position despite a brand value decrease of 8%. Walmart’s brand is worth $34.4 billion, while Amazon’s brand declined by 9% and is now worth $34 billion.
Meanwhile, Target ranked No. 6 out of all retail brands, and No. 76 out of all brands, with a value of $10.5 million.
"Walmart was boosted by international expansion- including into Africa, one of the world’s fastest growing regions, through its acquisition of Massmart," said Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ director at Millward Brown. "The appeal of retail remains strong with traditional online only brands such as Amazon, now retail outlets, while Apple has rolled out its retail network well beyond a few flagship stores. Tesco has now slowed the pace of physical expansion and renewed its focus in the United Kingdom on customer service, recently announcing that it would be employing another 8,000 frontline staff.
The most valuable retail brands of 2012 are:
|Rank||Global Rank||Brand||Value in $ million||Brand Value change from 2011|
|4||62||The Home Depot||12,968||+31%|
Download the complete BrandZ ranking, including regional and category breakdowns at Millwardbrown.com/BrandZ.