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Wal-Mart Watch

  • Wal-Mart entered Central America by buying a one-third stake in Central American Retail Holding Co. from Royal Ahold for an undisclosed price. Elsewhere, Wal-Mart was preparing to take over the Cora hypermarket chain in Hungary from Louis Delhaize.
  • As of press time, Wal-Mart was reportedly interested in acquiring clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger. The asking price for the designer may be as high as $2.16 billion.
  • Quebec rejected Wal-Mart Canada's claims that it had closed a newly-unionized store for economic reasons. In February, workers at the store — which employed 190 people overall — voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers-Canada, making it the first store in the company's chain to be organized. But after the vote passed, Wal-Mart shut the store down. The labor relations board is holding additional hearings on possible compensation for the employees ,and the company could face fines.
  • Lawyers representing 116,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees are suing the chain in a $66 million class-action suit, saying they were systematically and illegally denied lunch breaks. The suit is being heard in Alameda County Superior Court and is among 40 cases nationwide alleging workplace violations. The company settled a similar suit in Colorado for $50 million.
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