OPERATIONS

India paves way for foreign retailers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New Delhi, India — India’s government said Thursday that it has OK’d plans to permit foreign retailers to open stores that sell more than one brand, paving the way for retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores and Carrefour SA to expand their presence in the country.

The approved plan calls for overseas companies to put half of their investment in infrastructure such as processing, manufacturing, storage, warehouses and packaging.

The announcement follows the government’s December 2011 decision to reverse a ruling that allowed overseas companies to own 51% of Indian retail stores. Wal-Mart called the latest decision an important first step for India to further liberalize the retail industry.

Foreign companies are currently allowed to invest in supply chains and wholesale stores, which sell to local retailers and businesses.

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Planalytics: Cool fall temps next week will boost seasonal demand

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Retailers may soon be getting an assist from the weather, according to a Friday report from Planalytics. Businesses should be prepared for a demand spike in seasonal products as consumers react to the change in conditions, the report advises.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 18 and Sept. 19) is expected to bring a 25°F to 30°F decrease for both day time and overnight temperatures compared to recent weeks across the Northern Plains and Western Great Lakes. Frost is likely across these regions, including the major population areas of Minneapolis, Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee.

The Central Plains and Ohio Valley can also expect a daytime dip, bringing them back to seasonal temperatures, the report said. Chicago and St. Louis will experience overnight lows in the 40s, a large departure from last week’s conditions which registered nightly temperatures in the 70s. The cool trend spreads into the Northeast where temperatures will drop below normal for mid-to- late September. Retailers should see increased demand for fleece and long-sleeved shirts across major cities on the I-95 corridor, Planalytics said.

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Home Depot to close its last seven big-box stores in China

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — The Home Depot Inc. said Friday it will close its remaining seven big-box outlets in China and focus on Internet-based sales and specialty stores.

The chain said it will keep two specialty stores in Tianjin, a city east of Beijing, and is developing relations with Chinese e-commerce websites.

Home Depot entered China in 2006 when it acquired The Home Way, a 12-outlet chain of stores based on the American format.

"We’ve learned a great deal over the last six years in China, and our new approach leverages that experience and reflects our continuing interest in providing value to Chinese customers, as well as our shareholders," Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake said in a statement.

The company said it would record an after-tax charge of about $160 million, or 10-cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012 for the closures. It said that would include lease terminations, severance and other costs.

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