OPERATIONS

Men’s Wearhouse appoints Vitamin Shopper director to board

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fremont, Calif. – The Men’s Wearhouse has appointed B. Michael Becker to its board of directors. Becker has served as a director at Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. since January 2008 and is chairman of its audit committee.

Becker spent his career as an audit partner for Ernst & Young LLP from 1979 until his retirement in 2006. He was a senior consultant on airline risks to Pay Pal, Inc. from August 2008 to November 2009.

“I’m pleased to welcome Michael to the board,” said Doug Ewert, president and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse. “He brings extensive accounting experience in our industry, highlighted by years in public accounting as well as his service as a current board member and Audit Committee chairman at Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.”

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REAL ESTATE

Wal-Mart drops ambitious expansion plans for India

BY Staff Writer

New York — Wal-Mart Stores has put its ambitious expansion plans in India on hold indefinitely. The discounter and its joint venture partner in India, Bharti Enterprises, are parting ways after six years, the companies announced.

Plans call for Wal-Mart art to acquire Bharti’s 50% stake in their joint venture begun in 2007 to operate cash and carry wholesale stores branded as Best Price Modern Wholesale. At the time, that was the only sector of retail where Indian law allowed for foreign direct investment. The first Best Price store opened in 2009 and today there are 20 units spread throughout India.

Until a change in Indian law last year, Wal-Mart was precluded from owning a majority stake in other retail operations that directly served consumers. However, even with the change, foreign retailers balked at increasing their investments because of an unworkable stipulation that required foreign retailers to purchase 30% of merchandise from local small and medium-size businesses.

“Through Walmart’s investment in India, including our cash and carry business, supply chain infrastructure, direct farm program and supplier development, we want to serve India and its people, and continue to make important social and environmental contributions to the country,” Walmart Asia president and CEO Scott Price said in a statement announcing the separation from Bharti.

Wal-Mart is committed to businesses that serve members and provide good returns for our shareholders, and will continue to advocate for investment conditions that allow FDI multi-brand retail in India, according to Price.

Commenting on its separation from Wal-Mart, Bharti Enterprises vice chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal said, “Bharti is committed to building a world-class retail venture and will continue to invest in Bharti Retail across all formats. We believe that with our current footprint of 212 stores, we have a strong platform to significantly grow the business and delight customers.”

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News

The one book (about Amazon) every retailer should read

BY CSA STAFF

Bloomberg Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone has authored a new book about Amazon that is a must read for anyone involved in the retail industry – especially Walmart.

In the book, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,Stone shares details of the company and its leader gleaned from interviews with former and current employees. Bezos did not allow himself to be interviewed for the book. Stone is a San Francisco-based senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek who also spent time at Newsweek and The New York Times covering e-commerce and the rise of the digital age. The book is especially insightful for Walmart and its trading partners because the company continues to look for ways to unlock the potential of its unique collection of physical assets, brand equity and increasing digital capabilities to drive omnichannel growth.

“It’s easy to forget that until recently, people thought of Amazon primarily as an online bookseller. Today, as it nears its 20th anniversary, it’s the Everything Store, a company with around $75 billion in annual revenue, a $140 billion market value, and few if any discernible limits to its growth,” according to a excerpt in which some of Bezos’ personality traits will sound eerily familiar to those of Walmart founder Sam Walton. “In the past few months alone, it launched a marketplace in India, opened a website to sell high-end art, introduced another Kindle reading device and three tablet computers, made plans to announce a set-top box for televisions, and funded the pilot episodes of more than a dozen TV shows. Amazon’s marketplace hosts the storefronts of countless smaller retailers; Amazon Web Services handles the computer infrastructure of thousands of technology companies, universities, and government agencies.”

The book is available on Amazon.com beginning October 15, which ironically enough, is the same day when Walmart hosts its annual meeting with financial analysts and where ecommerce is sure to be a focal point. Click here to readthe excerpt.

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