REAL ESTATE

Lowe’s scales back openings, closing 20 underperforming stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. announced Monday it will open 10 to 15 stores annually in North America from 2012 forward, down from its prior target of 30 stores, and will close 20 underperforming locations. The chain is on track to open 25 stores as planned in 2011.

The stores scheduled to be closed are in 15 states, ranging from California to Maine. The closings will impact some 1,950 employees.

“Closing stores is never easy, given the impact on hard-working employees and local communities,” said Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and CEO. “However, we have an obligation to make tough decisions when necessary to improve profitability and strengthen our financial position.

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News

Whole Foods helps customers combat cold, flu season

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN — Whole Foods is focusing on immune support by offering educational podcasts, in-store lectures, a brochure and a "seasonal wellness shopping list" to customers this fall.

Whole Foods said that the promotion, which is being held during the months of October and November, is part of the Be Good to Your Whole Body campaign.

"As the seasons begin to change, there’s no better time of year to strengthen the body’s defenses," said Jeremiah McElwee, executive Whole Body coordinator at Whole Foods. "In the Whole Body department, shoppers will find natural options to gear up for cold and flu season, including products that can help nourish, strengthen and support the body’s defenses."

The promotion includes:

  • In-store lectures by Whole Body experts, which will provide shoppers with ideas and tips on staying healthy throughout the cold and flu season;

  • An in-store brochure offers seasonal wellness tips to prepare for cold and flu season;

  • Three cold and flu audio podcasts, which will be available online this month; and

  • The Whole Foods "seasonal wellness shopping list," which explores herbs and nutrients that may offer immune system support.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart China CEO stepping down

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores announced Monday that the president of its China unit is stepping down. A company spokesman said the resignation was unrelated to a Chinese government food safety case against several Wal-Mart stores.

Ed Chan, CEO of Wal-Mart China, left for personal reasons, the company said. Scott Price, president of Walmart Asia, will fill the position in the interim.

The departure comes after authorities in the city of Chongqing arrested two employees, closed 13 stores for two weeks and fined the retailer 2.7 million yuan ($421,000) on charges of passing of mislabeling regular pork as higher-priced organic meat.

Clara Wong, the senior VP for personnel at Wal-Mart China, also resigned. Rose said that departure also was unrelated to the Chongqing case.

Chan oversaw Walmart China’s expansion from 70 stores and 30,000 employees to 353 stores and workforce of nearly 100,000.

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