retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Sun Times reports that Safeway-owned Dominick’s plans to close three Chicago area stores over the next several months. One, in Orland Park, already has been shuttered, while another, in Carpentersville, is scheduled to close this week. Another, in Oak Lawn, is scheduled to be shut down at the end of the year.

• The Seattle Times reports that in the wake of last week’s referendum in which 60 percent of Washington State voters cast their ballots in favor of an initiative that gets the state out of the liquor business and allows private retailers to sell spirits - a shift that will result in more than 900 workers at state-run liquor stores and a Seattle liquor-distribution center being laid off - Costco has announced that “it will offer any displaced state liquor-store worker the opportunity to apply for a job at the chain.”

Costco’s chief legal officer, Joel Benoliel, tells the Times, "There is obviously no guarantee of a job, but anyone who would like to work at Costco will have the advantage of being interviewed. We will be working on a procedure to make that happen between now and June when the transition will happen.”

• The Arizona Republic reports that the trial of Michael C. Gilliland the founder of Wild Oats and, more recently, founder and CEO of Sunflower Farmers Market, on one count of child prostitution has been delayed until January 2012.

The trial was scheduled to begin today, but defense attorneys requested a 60 delay delay, and the motion was granted.

Gilliland is charged with paying an undercover police officer $100 to have sex with him in a hotel; the officer reportedly told Gilliland that she was 17 years old when he made the arrangement over the internet.
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