Man Made Disaster

Cold snap to help retailers clear winter stock

The Sydney Morning Herald Online

A cold snap that sent temperatures plunging along Australia's east coast could not have come at a better time for retailers desperate to clear winter stock after unseasonably warm weather in autumn.

As department store chains Myer and David Jones and specialty retailers such as Portmans, Saba, Oroton, David Lawrence and Cue kicked off their mid-season clearance sales this week, a wintry blast dumped a foot of snow in ski resorts and sent the mercury tumbling below zero in large parts of NSW, Victoria, the ACT and even Queensland.

McDonald's supplier fined for pollution in China


A Chinese joint venture of US-based J.R. Simplot, which supplies frozen french fries to McDonald's, was fined CNY3.92 million (USD632,370) on Wednesday by the Beijing city government for water pollution, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The Beijing government found the venture had been discharging contaminated waste water that exceeded stipulated levels, according to Xinhua.

Xinhua said the business was a joint venture between Simplot, a unit of McDonald's, and a local firm. Reuters could not independently verify the relationship.

Gap matches employees' donations to aid group for Nepal Earthquake

Gap is matching funds of any eligible Gap employee who donates to the aid group Mercy Corps in response to the devastating earthquake that recently hit Nepal and the surrounding area, the US fashion giant said on Saturday. The disaster has injured over 8,000 people and killed more than 4,400 by Tuesday.

"Gap Inc. and our employees extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and the families of all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and those impacted across South Asia," the company said in a statement.

Chinese "explosion of buying" benefits Japan

Shanghai Daily

Chinese tourism remains a big business in Japan. Last year, almost 2.5 million Chinese mainlanders visited their island neighbour, a four-fifths increase from a year earlier. They were the third-largest source of visitors after Taiwan and South Korea.

Better still, they don't stint on spending. The Japan Tourism Agency estimates that Chinese tourists accounted for a quarter of all tourist spending in Japan last year, shelling out about USD2,000 each during a visit.

US retailers target Alibaba over sales tax "loophole"


Alibaba is taking on Amazon's habitual role as public enemy number one for traditional US retailers, as the Chinese ecommerce group is dragged into a political fight in Washington over its global ambitions.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers, which spent years attacking Amazon for profiting from what they call a sales tax loophole, have turned their fire on Alibaba by warning that the Chinese group will be its next beneficiary. introduces electronics holiday gift guide has released its annual Electronics Holiday Gift Guide, a curated list of more than 500 of the top electronics gifts of the season, which it said features three times more deals this year.

Organized by eight unique personas, including the “gamer” who has to have the latest games and hottest accessories, wearable enthusiasts that are “decked in tech,” and music fans who love to rock, making it easy for shoppers to find the right gift for the electronics lover on their list.

ASOS says back on course for USD4b sales by 2020


UK online fashion retailer ASOS believes it can reach its target of GBP2.5 billion (USD4 billion) in annual sales by 2020, with price cuts helping to reignite growth after three profit warnings this year.

Until this year, ASOS had been the great success story of UK retailing and a darling of the stock market, helped by its appeal to internet-savvy twentysomethings and high-profile fans including singer Rita Ora and US First Lady Michelle Obama. Having floated at 20 pence in 2001, ASOS shares hit a high of GBP71.95 in February.

Retailers find safety problems in Bangladesh factories

The Malaysian Insider

European retailers said on Tuesday they had found thousands of safety problems while inspecting Bangladesh garment factories in a drive to prevent a repeat of last year's Rana Plaza disaster that claimed over 1,100 lives.

The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, an umbrella group of nearly 200 European brands such as H&M and Carrefour, said inspectors discovered 80,000 safety hazards in the 1,106 factories investigated this year.

Asos warehouse fire in England leads company to halt sales


UK online fashion retailer Asos has been forced to suspend its website and stop taking orders, possibly for several days, after a fire at the firm's main warehouse in Barnsley of England's South Yorkshire.

The fire, which South Yorkshire police believe was started deliberately on Friday night, ripped through several floors of Asos's vast distribution centre. It took 10 fire engines and more than 60 firefighters to bring the blaze under control.

Amazon introduces first smartphone

Amazon unveiled on Wednesday its first smartphone - Fire.

The brand new gadget features two new technologies - Dynamic perspective, which it said uses a new sensor system to respond to the way users hold, view, and move the gadget; and Firefly, which recognizes things in the real world like web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and products.

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