FINANCE

J.C. Penney CEO: High price of cotton is one of biggest challenges

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The high price of cotton is one of the biggest challenges that J.C. Penney Co. faces this year, chairman and CEO Mike Ullman said during a panel discussion at Southern Methodist University, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

Cotton prices in March hit their highest levels in decades after floods in Australia and Pakistan and freezes in China wiped out farmers’ crops. That means consumers will see rising clothing prices for the first time in more than 20 years, Ullman said, who predicted increases of 5% to 20%.

Ullman said that higher apparel prices will make it difficult to keep customers spending in an environment where they are dealing with higher fuel and food costs.

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OPERATIONS

Southern California grocery workers OK strike authorization

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Members of the largest union local representing Southern California grocery workers gave their negotiators the power to call for a strike if contract talks with major supermarket chains break down, it was announced Thursday. Results for the other locals were not immediately available.

Passage of the strike authorization would not necessarily mean a strike is imminent. Contract talks that began in February are set to resume next week with negotiators for The Vons Cos. Ralphs Grocery Co., a subsidiary of The Kroger Co.; and Albertsons.

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REAL ESTATE

Oakland Mall helps moms with Facebook fundraising challenge

BY CSA STAFF

Troy, Mich. — Oakland Mall is using social networking as a tool to get shoppers involved this Mother’s Day to benefit Moms at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), a non-profit agency dedicated to assisting the homeless and getting them back on their feet.

From now thru Mother’s Day if you "like" Oakland Mall on Facebook, Oakland Mall and its stores will donate money, gift cards, and much needed items to DRMM. The value of the donation will be based on the number of "likes" Oakland Mall receives. Shoppers can also donate items by dropping them off at the Information Center located on the lower level of the shopping center near J.C. Penney.

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