Business Digest, Oct. 16

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Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:00 am

Walmart to link big, small stores

Walmart Stores Inc. plans to open more small stores as it links them to its supercenters, which will serve as mini-warehouses for their smaller cousins. The plans, announced at the retailer’s annual investor meeting, come as the world’s largest retailer faces increasing pressure from online retailers like Amazon.com as well as dollar stores. Walmart expects to roll out the new distribution scheme in the first of three markets in March, though it declined to say where. It is testing some of the aspects of the plan in areas like Gentry, Ark., where it operates a Walmart Express store, which is one-tenth the size of a typical supercenter.

Lincoln’s Novartis workers qualify for aid

Workers who have lost jobs or will be laid off at Lincoln’s Novartis plant will qualify for special federal aid.

The U.S. Labor Department has certified a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance. The department says the jobs are being lost at least in part to foreign competition. The assistance provides government subsidies for job retraining as well as job search and relocation expenses. Novartis announced in April that it was going to limit Lincoln production to just three brands: Excedrin, Theraflu and the veterinary drug Sentinel. The plant had been shut down since December 2011 because of quality-control problems found during inspections by the Food and Drug Administration.

Diet Coke’s fizz fading?

Diet Coke, the country’s No. 2 soda, may be losing some of its pop. During a conference call with analysts Tuesday, a Coca-Cola executive noted that Diet Coke was “under a bit of pressure” because of concerns over artificial sweeteners. Steve Cahillane, who heads Coca-Cola’s North American and Latin American business, noted that many diet foods and drinks in the U.S. are facing the same concerns. This past summer, the company launched its first ad addressing the safety of aspartame. The Food and Drug Administration says aspartame may be safely used in foods as a sweetener.

Apple hires Burberry CEO

Apple said Tuesday that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who used technology to drive a remarkable turnaround at her luxury fashion house, will take charge of the company’s expansion plans and retail operation. Ahrendts, who will become a senior vice president at Apple next spring, is credited with helping transform Burberry from an established if stodgy brand known for its iconic trench coats to one of the fashion world’s leading companies. Together with chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, Ahrendts championed melding digital and mobile technology with the runway. Bailey will become Burberry CEO on Ahrendts’ departure.

— From wire reports

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