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Nordstrom supports gay marriage

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Nordstrom has joined such other Washington-based retailers as Starbucks Coffee Company and Amazon.com in coming out in support of approving Referendum 74, a Washington state ballot measure that seeks to affirm same-sex marriage with voters. (In July, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $2.5 million in support of the measure.)

Company president Blake Nordstrom sent out a companywide memo that detailed the retailer’s "philosophical approach" to business, which includes a workplace where "every employee is welcomed and respected." The memo was co-signed by his brothers Erik and Pete, who are also executives at the company.

"We feel the next step in this journey is to now support freedom to marry, also called marriage equality," Nordstrom wrote in the memo, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. "We gave this thoughtful consideration and felt the time was right to come out in support of this civil rights issue.”

Nordstrom already offers domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples, and sexual orientation is included in its anti-discrimination policy.

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Toys ‘R’ Us extends holiday layaway; announces ‘pay it forward’ donations

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.J. — Toys “R” Us announced that it is extending its free layaway program through Dec. 16, due to significant positive response by consumers. The free offer was originally slated to end on Oct. 31. The chain was the first retailer to offer free layaway, starting in September. Since then, other companies have also stepped up with enhanced layaway programs, including Walmart and Kmart.

In addition, the retailer is responding to a nationwide phenomenon of the 2011 holiday season that saw random individuals paying off the remaining balance on in-store layaway orders for someone in their community. In response, Toys “R” Us has pledged to “pay it forward” each time a benefactor visits one of its stores and pays off the balance of the layaway order for someone in their community. For each layaway balance paid off as an act of kindness, the company will donate $200 worth of toys – the approximate average value of a layaway order created at Toys "R" Us – Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $1 million worth of toys.

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PBteen to open five holiday pop-up shops

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Pbteen, a division of Williams-Sonoma, plans to open five pop-up stores in the Durham, Cincinnati, Edina, Houston and Miami areas this October and November.

The stores will showcase PBteen’s new holiday gift assortment, including gadgets for guys and girls, fur-inspired bedding and lounge seating, jewelry and beauty storage and accessories.

Each pop-up will be anchored around a PBteen Design Lab where teens and their parents can engage with the brand and its products by creating a personalized room electronically on a computer monitor and see it come to life on a television screen overhead.

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