business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Costco has opened its second Costco Home store, this one in Arizona. The first such unit opened two years ago in Kirkland, Washington, though it is still officially classified by the company as a “concept store” without firm plans for a national rollout.

  • Ahold has announced that Chilean retailer Cencosud has acquired 84.75 percent of Disco, its Argentine unit, with the balance of the unit expected to be transferred once legal questions are resolved there. Ahold is making the equivalent of $315 million (US).

  • France’s Carrefour and Germany’s Metro have both announced expansion plans for China in 2005. Carrefour reportedly will open 15 stores over the next year, on top of the 53 units it currently operates there. And Metro will expand its fleet by more than 50 percent; it currently operates 21 units in China.

  • Published reports say that Cuba has signed contracts that will allow it to obtain $150 million worth of US farm products, including $10 million of U.S. wheat and meat products, and $300,000 of American dairy cattle.

  • It has been well documented how and Toys R Us are involved in competing lawsuits, with Toys R Us charging that Alazon abrogated its contractual agreement to allow only the toy retailer to sell toys and games on its site, and with Amazon also charging Toys R Us with breach of contract.

    Well, the lawsuits haven’t been settled…but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the two companies from keeping their eyes on the holiday season prize. We got an email yesterday from both Amazon and Toys R Us, informing us about a whole series of special offers – ranging from Game Boy to a Shrek stuffed animal, plus free shipping on all orders over $49.

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