News

Report: Amazon entering online payment arena

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Amazon.com is reportedly entering the online payment arena.

According to Reuters, Amazon.com will offer a service where for a fee, registered customers can use credit card information stored on Amazon.com to pay for services such as utilities or digital subscriptions.

Amazon.com currently serves as an electronic payment middleman for its third-party sellers, who account for about 40% of its sales. This marks the company’s first foray into managing electronic payments for businesses that are not its partners, and places it in direct competition with services such as EBay’s PayPal.

Amazon has not yet formally announced the service, but an executive is quoted by Reuters as saying it is a way to expand how Amazon can help people. The company is also expected to unveil a new smartphone on June 18.

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REAL ESTATE

Dollar General to open stores in three new states

BY Dan Berthiaume

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General plans to expand its nationwide presence into three new states within the next year, increasing the company’s presence to 43 states across the country. The discount retailer will begin construction on stores in Maine and Rhode Island in fall 2014, with plans to expand into Oregon in early 2015.

Expansion into Maine and Rhode Island follows the company’s expansion into neighboring northeastern states in recent years. New stores in Oregon will increase Dollar General’s visibility on the West Coast after opening stores in California in 2012. Stores in Maine and Rhode Island will be served by its new Bethel, Pennsylvania distribution center and Oregon stores plan to be served by its Lebec, California distribution center that opened in April 2012.

“It’s exciting to announce plans to add stores in three new states, which will give Dollar General locations in all northeastern states and a presence in the pacific northwest,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “Announcing this expansion simultaneously with our 75th anniversary in 2014 further demonstrates Dollar General’s enduring legacy of serving others and providing customers quality, convenience and everyday low prices.”

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart comments on weekend shooting in Las Vegas, accident in New Jersey

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Wal-Mart Stores found itself at the center of two national news stories this past weekend, both of which involved fatalities.

On Saturday, June 7, a truck driver for Walmart was charged in the highway crash that left comedian Tracy Morgan critically injured and killed one of Morgan’s associates, comedian James McNair.

Driver Kevin Roper, 35, was charged with four counts of assault by auto and one count of death by auto after the tractor-trailer truck he was driving for the retailer allegedly swerved to miss an auto on the New Jersey Turnpike and instead struck a limousine bus Morgan and several other comedians were traveling in, flipping it over.

New Jersey State Police are investigating the crash, which also caused a chain reaction accident with another tractor trailer truck, an SUV and two cars. No passengers in any of the other cars were injured.

"The facts are continuing to unfold,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon said in a statement. “If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility. Safety is our absolute highest priority, but that is no comfort whatsoever to the families and friends who are suffering today. We offer them our deepest condolences. We can’t change what happened, but we will do what’s right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead."

On Sunday, June 8, a shooting spree that began with the killing of two police officers in a Las Vegas CiCi’s Pizza location ended with the deaths of a customer and both alleged shooters inside a Wal-Mart across the street.

At about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, an unidentified man and woman entered the Cici’s Pizza and ambushed Metro Las Vegas police offers Alyn Beck, 41 and Igor Soldo, 31, fatally shooting both and taking their weapons.

Witnesses reported the shooters said, “Tell the police the revolution has begun,” before crossing the street and entering a Wal-Mart where they barricaded themselves, killing an unidentified customer and engaging in a gun battle with SWAT team members who responded to the scene. The female shooter eventually shot the male shooter and turned the gun on herself in what police said was a suicide pact.

Motive in the attack is still not clear, although media reports indicate the shooters were a married couple in their 20s who may have had white supremacist links, and police have not identified the shooters or the other victim.

"We express our deepest condolences to everyone who has been affected by this senseless act of violence," said Wal-Mart spokesman Brooke Buchanan.

Wal-Mart also said it is working with police in the investigation and CiCi’s Pizza said it is saddened by the events and has the Las Vegas store closed until further notice.

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