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Wal-Mart Sets New Rules for Suppliers

BY CSA STAFF

Beijing Wal-Mart Stores issued environmental and product-safety guidelines for its global suppliers Wednesday, starting with those in China, as part of its bid to be more environmentally responsible and to avoid any recalls or defective-product returns.

“Sustainability is about building a better business,” said Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, in a statement. “We think it is essential to our future success as a retailer—and to meeting the expectations of customers. Maintaining the trust of our customers—today and in the future—is tied hand-in-hand with improving the quality of our supplier factories and their products.”

Under a new agreement with its suppliers, Wal-Mart will require factories to certify compliance with laws and regulations where they operate. The agreement will be phased in with suppliers in China in January 2009, and be expanded to the chain’s suppliers around the world by 2011. Wal-Mart announced the terms of the agreement in a meeting in Beijing with over 1,000 of its top suppliers, Chinese officials and non-governmental organizations.

Addressing suppliers in attendance, Mike Duke, vice chairman for Wal-Mart’s international division, outlined a number of requirements and expectations for suppliers who want to do business with Wal-Mart. “Achieving the goals that we lay out today is going to require a common commitment,” Duke said. “It’s going to take even stronger and deeper relationships. And it is going to take all of us working together. We are expecting more of ourselves at Wal-Mart, and we will also expect more of our suppliers.”

Wal-Mart also announced a major effort to make Wal-Mart China a leader in sustainability in China by committing to make its stores more sustainable. The company will design and open a new store prototype that uses 40% less energy and will reduce energy use at existing stores by 30% by 2010.

In addition, during the next two years, Wal-Mart China will aim to cut water use in all of its stores in half by investing in new hardware and systems and developing best practices that will help its associates and stores use water more efficiently.

The company also pledged to bring more environmentally sustainable products to its store shelves.

Wal-Mart will apply the new standards to apparel first and eventually use them on all its products, Duke said. No other details were given.

The measures by Wal-Mart come as confidence in Chinese exports has been shaken after a series of product-safety scandals.

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Ross named vp of retail for Kellwood

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Bob Ross was named to the position of vp of retail for Kellwood Company, according to Michael Kramer, ceo of Kellwood. In this new role, Ross will be responsible for the retail operations of the Kellwood portfolio of brands, and the retail store expansion with a particular focus on Vince.

 Most recently, Ross served as vp of retail at Lacoste, where in 12 years he developed and implemented a retail strategy that resulted in exceptional growth in retail locations and sales. Prior to that, Ross was a regional manager at Britches of Georgetowne following 12 years with Lord & Taylor where he held positions in merchandising and in-store operations. There he eventually ascended to the position of general manager.

“We are very excited to have Bob join the Kellwood family,” Kramer stated. “Bob’s strong retail background and industry expertise will be key to positioning Kellwood brands for future growth in this important channel.”

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New Balance names new creative directors

BY CSA STAFF

BOSTON New Balance has named Savania Davies-Keiller and Roberto Crivello, founders and designers of the high-tech fashion brand DDCLAB, as creative directors for New Balance.

“Our main goal with New Balance Lifestyle is to deliver shoes that can be worn to support an active lifestyle with a focus on design material and color. For example,” says Davies-Keiller, “fall ’08 includes fabrics such as aluminum coated rip-stop and steel infused nylons, soft gloved leathers and unique meshes.”

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