retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Boston Globe reports that under considerable social media pressure, Walmart has apologized for and taken down a section of its website called "Fat Girl Costumes" for Halloween. The Globe notes that the costumes are still available in a section called "Women's Plus Size Halloween Costumes."

The story notes that it took Walmart six days to respond to the criticism, which initially appeared on a women's website called Jezebel. There's been no explanation for the thinking behind the original site, the Globe writes, "and so far the company hasn’t offered an official statement."


• The Washingtonian reports that just a year after Walmart threatened not to open planned stores in Washington, DC, because of concerns about a proposal that would have required it to pay a higher minimum wage than other retailers, the retailer has been named the DC Chamber of Commerce's "Business of the Year."

According to the story, "The DC Chamber feted Walmart mostly for hiring 600 workers, 68 percent of whom are District residents, between the two stores, and for making $13 million in donations to local charities. Unmentioned, though, is the July 2013 episode in which the company threatened to cancel its other planned stores after the Council passed a 'living wage' bill that would have forced it and other big-box retailers to pay their employees at least $12.50 per hour. Mayor Vince Gray’s veto was ultimately successful, although of the other planned stores, construction has only started on one in a mixed-use project in upper Northwest’s Fort Totten, while two locations planned for Ward 7 remain unbuilt."
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