business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• A California federal court has ruled that a lawsuit against four companies - all of which supply seafood to Walmart - can go forward. The suit has been brought on behalf of seven people who were recruited from Thailand with the promise of good jobs at good wages, but instead found themselves the victims of human trafficking, forced labor, and involuntary servitude.

The four suppliers had asked the judge to dismiss the suit, but the motion was denied.

• In Portland, Oregon, the Portland Business Journal reports that Macy's has announced its intention to close its large downtown store next spring, and will sell the iconic building in which it operates for about $54 million.

This came to my attention when an MNB reader sent me the story and asked what I think such a closing means for the health of a downtown? In this case, the message probably is mixed, and it depends on who buys the store and what they do with it. That area of Portland is pretty busy ... there is an Apple Store and a Nordstrom within a block or so. And there's a boutique hotel on top of the Macy's building that always seems very active. This may be more a reflection of Macy's lack of vitality than Portland's.

• The Tennesseean reports that Dollar General "has leased a portion of the former TGI Friday's restaurant space at the corner of West End and 21st avenues for the first location under its new, smaller-format store concept. The store, tentatively branded DGX, is expected to open this fall with a 3,400-square-foot sales floor. It will target busy, metropolitan shoppers with everyday low prices on essential items in a convenient, easy-to-shop format."
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