OPERATIONS

Report: Wal-Mart reopens 13 stores in China after food safety case

BY Katherine Boccaccio

BeijingThe Xinhua News Agency in Beijing, China, said that Wal-Mart Stores has reopened 13 stores in Chongqing after being forced by authorities to close the stores for 15 days over the mislabeling of regular pork as organic.

Chongqing authorities had also arrested two employees and fined the company $421,000 on charges of passing off regular pork as higher-priced organic meat earlier in October.

During the two-week closure, Wal-Mart set up supervisory teams at the stores to improve management and product labeling while local authorities conducted twice-daily inspections, Xinhua reported.

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FINANCE

Report: Costco’s donations to Washington state initiative break records

BY Alaric Dearment

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale’s donations to a Washington state voter initiative that would legalize liquor sales by private retailers have broken state records, according to published reports.

The Seattle Times reported that the $22 million the mass-merchandise chain spent on Initiative 1183 was the most any single donor had ever spent on an initiative. In addition, Safeway and Trader Joe’s each spent $50,000, while the Northwest Grocery Association spent $30,373, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, alcohol wholesalers, the Beer Institute and the UFCW Local 21 have donated to defeat the measure.

Washington is among the handful of states in which liquor may only be sold in state-owned liquor stores, due to laws that date back to the period following Prohibition, when alcohol sales were legalized but became subject to strict regulations.

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FINANCE

Zale expands customer financing options with NewComLink

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Austin, Texas — Retail credit solution-provider NewComLink said Tuesday that Zale Corp. has implemented the NewComLink platform as part of its new program to provide alternative financing options to its U.S. customers.

Zale announced the new alternative financing program on Aug. 31, which is currently available in all Zales, Zales Outlet and Gordon’s retail stores.

“We are continually looking for new ways to build additional long-term loyalty and sales,” said Ken Brumfield, VP of financial products for Zale Corp. “The NewComLink platform allows us to leverage our current systems and processes to expand the financing options we offer our customers.”

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