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Report: Wal-Mart to lay off 150 in India

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart India is laying off roughly 100-150 senior to mid-level employees. The Financial Press quotes anonymous executives as saying Wal-Mart India, which currently employs about 1,100 workers, beefed up staffing in anticipation of an expansion that has now been put on hold.

Wal-Mart runs 20 wholesale stores in India. The retailer previously ran them in a joint venture with Indian company Bharti Enterprises, but since that partnership was dissolved in October 2013 Wal-Mart India has been taking on Bharti employees.

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Report: Dept. of Commerce to issue facial recognition guidelines

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — The U.S, Department of Commerce will reportedly start meeting with companies including Facebook, Apple and Wal-Mart in February 2014 to create voluntary guidelines for the commercial use of facial recognition technology. According to Bloomberg, the Department of Commerce plans to have formal guidelines ready for release in June 2014.

The guidelines, which would only apply to commercial entities and not to government agencies, would require companies to notify consumers before using facial recognition technology and receive their permission to apply it to them. Companies that agreed to follow the guidelines and then failed to do so could face sanctions from trade groups as well as class action lawsuits.

A representative of the National Retail Federation (NRF), which will represent Wal-Mart at development talks with the Department of Commerce, is quoted as saying the NRF has concerns about stifling development of facial recognition technology before its full capabilities are known.

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Restoration Hardware co-CEO resigning to head up Lucky Brand

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Restoration Hardware Holdings said that co-CEO Carlos Alberini is resigning, effective January 31, to become the chairman and chief executive of Lucky Brand Jeans. The move comes just days after Fifth & Pacific Cos. entered into an agreement to sell Lucky Brand to private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

“I have been presented with an opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream to run and build a company, Alberini said. “Leaving RH has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made in my career. Gary and I have built an extraordinary relationship, which I treasure and will miss. I am honored and thrilled that I will continue to have the opportunity to serve on the Board, and plan to remain a significant shareholder in what I believe will be recognized as one of the greatest retail stories of all time.”

Co-CEO Friedman said the company is developing a transition plan and will begin a search for Alberini replacement shortly.

The announcement was made as Restoration Hardware raised its fiscal year guidance and reported that its fiscal third-quarter earnings surged as same-store sales climbed 29%.

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