Kmart Settles Class-Action Disability Suit
Denver, AKmart spokesman said the company settled a class-action suit Monday over access for disabled shoppers. The agreement gives the company 7.5 years to bring its nationwide stores into compliance with federal standards for merchandise, counters, restrooms, fitting rooms and parking lots. The $13 million settlement, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Denver, includes $8 million in cash and $5 million in gift cards. It will be distributed to plaintiffs in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Texas, whose laws have minimum damages for failing to comply with disability-access rules. The plaintiffs’ attorney Amy F. Robertson said the most an individual could receive would range from $100 in Colorado to $8,000 in California, depending on state laws. Kmart spokesman Chris Brathwaite would not speculate on how many of Kmart’s 1,400 stores might require changes or how much they might cost.
Wild Oats Rating Revised to Positive Due to Improved Credit Metrics
New York City, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said it revised its viewpoint of supermarket chain Wild Oats Markets Inc. by upping its rating from negative to positive. “The outlook change reflects expectations that ratings could be revised in the next six months if the company’s positive operating trends continue,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Stella Kapur said. The revision reflects the improved operating results and credit metrics. Standard & Poor also reportedly affirmed its ‘CCC+’ corporate credit and other ratings on the grocery chain. Wild Oats has currently accumulated $172 million in debt.
Best Buy Plans to Focus More on Small Businesses
New York City, The VP of Best Buy Co. Inc.’s business division said that it plans to focus on small business customers as a source of growth. “We think that right now there doesn’t exist anyone that can be a single point of contact for small businesses to obtain—or to even be aware of— technology solutions that can improve their business,” Tom Healy said. Healy said Best Buy will use its so-called “Geek Squad agents” to sell technology to small businesses. Best Buy’s 12,000 “Geek Squad” employees offer technology assistance, such as making house calls, to help customers set up new computers. The retailer plans to hire roughly 600 new Geek employees this year.