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Wal-Mart Canada Workers Obtain Rare Union Contract

BY CSA STAFF

Ottawa Employees at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlet in Canada won an arbitrator-imposed contract on Friday, becoming the company’s only location in North America with a collective agreement in place, according to a Reuters report.

The contract, imposed after binding arbitration ended in June, affects only eight employees at Wal-Mart’s tire and lube garage in Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa.

“There has been a decision. This is a first collective agreement for Gatineau, for the garage,” Guy Chenier, president of the Gatineau local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada, told Reuters.

Chenier said he was still studying the agreement and would provide more details later on Friday. There is also a regular Wal-Mart store in Gatineau with a staff of 200.

Labor groups have long criticized Wal-Mart for keeping unions out of its U.S. stores. In 2005 it closed a store in Jonquiere, Quebec, that had been the first in North America to obtain union certification.

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed on Aug. 7 to hear a challenge from former employees at the Jonquiere store, who charge they unfairly lost their jobs because of their union activism.

Wal-Mart Canada insisted they had lost their jobs for the “good and sufficient reason” of the closure of the store.

The Gatineau store was one of several in Canada that had union certification, but until now, no collective agreement was in place.

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Nike names Sprunk to newly-created vp for product position

BY CSA STAFF

BEAVERTON, Ore. Nike has announced that Eric Sprunk has been promoted to the newly-created role of vp for product. In this role, Sprunk will be responsible for all Nike brand product across the company’s footwear, equipment and apparel engines from design and development to manufacturing.

Sprunk has been with Nike for 15 years working in senior financial, product and global management roles. He will report to Charlie Denson, president of the Nike Brand.

“Eric is a seasoned leader who brings strong global management experience and a successful track record to this new, very important role,” said Denson. “Nike’s growth has been, and will continue to be, fueled by our ability to deliver innovative, superior products. Under Eric’s leadership, we look forward to extending Nike’s legacy of innovation and product excellence.”

Sprunk joined Nike in 1993 as finance director for the Americas region. During his 15-year career, he has held numerous financial and general management roles in the company’s Americas and European regions, culminating with his appointment as vp of global footwear in 2001. During his tenure, Nike’s footwear business has grown from $5.5 billion to $9.7 billion at the end of FY 2008.

Jan Singer will succeed Sprunk and has been promoted to vp of footwear. Singer joined Nike in 2004 and most recently served as vp of footwear sport culture. In her new role, she will be responsible for creating and executing Nike’s global footwear creation strategy.

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Kohl’s posts 12.3% net income drop, raises guidance

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s reported net income for the quarter ended Aug. 2 of $236 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, compared with $269.2 million, or 83 cents per diluted share, a year ago. Net sales were $3.7 billion, an increase of 3.8% for the quarter. Comparable-store sales for the quarter decreased 4.6%.

“Our second-quarter results reflect strong inventory management and increased penetration of private and exclusive brands, resulting in improved gross margins, as well as effective expense control,” said Kohl’s chairman and ceo Larry Montgomery. “We remain conservative in our sales expectations for the fall season and will manage our business accordingly. We are well positioned to chase business, should the environment improve. We will use our financial strength to continue to build for the future as we add new stores and remodel existing stores to continue to gain market share in this difficult environment.”

Kohl’s raised its earnings per diluted share guidance for fiscal 2008 from between $2.95 and $3.15 to between $3.02 and $3.18.

Kohl’s ended the quarter with 957 stores in 47 states, compared with 834 stores in 46 states at the same time last year. The company expects to open an additional 47 stores later this year for a total of 75 stores in fiscal 2008. In fiscal 2009, the company expects to open approximately 50 stores and remodel 60 stores.

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