Walmart reported improvements in sales and profits in the second quarter leading to market share gains in grocery and other categories. U.S. same-store sales increased 6.5 percent during the quarter as Walmart posted earnings of $1.77 per share, ahead of the $1.62 expected by analysts.
Home Depot’s same-store sales rose 5.8 percent in the second quarter, above the 4.9 percent expected by Wall Street, on the strength of its business with construction industry professionals. Higher product prices drove the average transaction up nine percent, even as transactions fell three percent during the quarter. Earnings per share came in at $5.05, better than the $4.94 consensus among analysts.
Workers at Amazon.com’s air hub in San Bernardino, CA. walked off the job in protest over working conditions and pay. The action, which involved at least 74 workers and possibly more than 150, included some demanding an end to “retaliation at the warehouse” against employees who support unionizing. The facility employs 1,500 workers.
Walmart has reached a deal to offer Paramount+ streaming programs to Walmart+ members at no additional charge to their annual or monthly subscription fees. The offer, which begins in April, will allow Walmart+ members to view programs that are part of Paramount+ Essential Plan, which includes ads and original programming such as “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and “1883.”
Authentic Brands Group, which owns a large portfolio of consumer brands and retailers including Forever 21, Juicy Couture and Reebok, has reached a deal to acquire Ted Baker, the U.K fashion chain. “We are excited to build on the brand’s global foundation through a business model focused on licensing, wholesale, retail, digital and strategic marketing partnerships,” said ABG founder and CEO Jamie Salter.
World oil prices fell 4.6 percent after China’s central bank issued a rate cut in an attempt to heat up the nation’s domestic economy. Lower oil and gas prices may benefit the U.S. in the short-term, but a slowing of the Chinese economy raises concerns about a global recession.
Inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found blocked exit routes and other violations that pose a potential threat to the safety of workers at three Dollar General stores in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed fines of almost $1.3 million for the violations. “Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees,” said Doug Parker, assistant secretary for occupational safety and health at the agency. “Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices.”
More than two million MamaRoo infant swings and 220,000 RockaRoo rockers have been recalled over reports that babies have gotten entangled in the straps of the devices. Gary Waters, CEO of 4moms, the company that makes the products, said it is committed “to the highest quality and safety standards.”
Starbucks has sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board alleging that misconduct has occurred in the mail-in vote process in union elections at the chain’s stores. The chain wants to restrict future voting to in-person only. More than 220 Starbucks have voted to unionize and 34 others are in the process of determining whether workers will organize or not.
The price of food purchased at grocery stores jumped 13.1 percent in July. Meals at restaurants were up 7.6 percent for the month.