OPERATIONS

Wet Seal chairman and three board members out; replaced by Clinton Group nominees

BY Marianne Wilson

Foothills Ranch, Calif. — The chairman of The Wet Seal and three other directors have stepped down from its board, replaced by four nominees of the Clinton Group. The move follows several attempts by the activist investor group, which holds about 7% of Wet Seal, to take control of the struggling retailer.

As a result of the board changes, Clinton Group has agreed to terminate its effort to get support from shareholders for its nominees, Wet Seal said Friday.

The Wet Sea said board members Jonathan Duskin, Sidney Horn and Henry Winterstern have resigned, along with chairman Hal Kahn. They have been replaced with four Clinton Group nominees: Dorrit Bern, Lynda Davey, Mindy Meads and John Mills.

The board will also still include Kathy Bronstein, John Goodman and Ken Reiss.

“We believe that the agreement with Clinton Group is in the best interest of all Wet Seal shareholders,” said Ken Seipel, president and COO of Wet Seal. “This settlement will provide for a smooth and orderly transition of the Board’s responsibilities, as well as a level of continuity for our employees.”

The retailer said that former board chairman Kahn has agreed to continue to serve the company as a consultant pursuant to his existing contract.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Wal-Mart sued in Florida for gender discrimination

BY Staff Writer

New York — Three female employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in South Florida claiming the company discriminates against women in areas such as wages and promotion opportunities, the Associated Press reported.

The potential class-action lawsuit follows similar lawsuits recently filed in Tennessee, Texas and California. It also follows a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision that tossed out a national gender bias lawsuit seeking to represent some 1.6 million female Wal-Mart workers.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks sees 1,000 new U.S. stores in next five years; will accept mobile payments starting in November

BY Marianne Wilson

Houston — Starbucks Coffee Co. founder and CEO Howard Schultz said his company plans to add 1,000 stores in the U.S. in the next five years, according to a Bloomberg report.

In other news, Starbucks announced that customers will be able to use Square Wallet to pay with their mobile phones at U.S. Starbucks stores beginning in early November. The chain also said it will enable digital tipping at its U.S. company-operated stores through both the Square and Starbucks mobile payment applications in the summer of 2013. Customers will also be able to use the Square directory to find more than 7,000 U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores.

Additionally, Starbucks announced that the third retail location for its Evolution Fresh juice brand will open in mid-October, in the Filmore district of San Francisco. It plans to open an additional store in the University Village Shopping Center in Seattle in mid-November

Starbucks made the announcements on the first day of its three-day Global Leadership Conference in Houston. Nearly 10,000 of the company’s store managers and regional leaders from outside the U.S. are in attendance at the event. Starbucks said it has branded the conference with the theme “Lead” to reinforce the critical leadership role these store managers — many of whom are running the equivalent of small businesses generating more than $1 million in annual sales — play in the company’s success.

Starbucks also celebrated the opening of a profit-sharing "community" store in Houston’s East End neighborhood. The Houston location is the company’s third community store in the U.S. Starbucks opened its first two profit-sharing Community location s in Harlem, N.Y., and Crenshaw, Calif., one year ago.

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J.Hams says:
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