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Walmart

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Walmart has been ordered to give jobs back to 16 workers it fired for missing shifts to take part in a strike.

Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter found the workers had suffered discrimination.

In a statement, Walmart said it felt the “actions were legal and justified” and that it would pursue other options to defend the company.

Most of the allegations filed by employees related to protests in 2013, when Walmart workers – backed by labor groups – traveled to the company’s headquarters to protest at a shareholder meeting.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Walmart had said the employees were fired due to unexcused absences not protected by labor law.

The judge disagreed and ordered Walmart to compensate the workers for “loss of earnings and other benefits suffered as a result of the discrimination against them”.

Judge Geoffrey Carter also ordered Wal-Mart to hold a meeting in 29 stores throughout the country to inform employees of their right to strike, and to promise not to threaten or discipline employees for doing so.

The company has faced mounting protests over the last several years targeting its employee pay, the ability of workers to organize into a union and working conditions.


Walmart announced on January 20 that it will raise the pay of 1.2 million workers, lifting its average hourly wage to $13.38 per hour.

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Walmart has announced it will close 269 stores globally as it struggles to compete with online retailers like Amazon.

The news came on January 15 as US retail figures showed lower than expected holiday sales figures across the market.

Sales rose just 3% in November and December, falling short of the expected 3.7% growth according to the National Retail Federation.

The Walmart closures will affect 10,000 US workers and 16,000 worldwide.

The announcement came three months after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told investors the company would focus on becoming more nimble.Walmart store closing

“Closing stores is never an easy decision. But it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future,” Doug McMillon said in October 2015.

The national shortfall in holiday shopping came even as retailers offered steep discounts to attract customers.

Online retailing did see a significant increase, rising 9% to $105 billion, but it was not enough lift the overall figures.

Concerns about holiday shopping added to market concerns as stocks fell sharply. The Dow Jones fell 400 points in morning trading.

The weak economic outlook was not confined to the service sector.

On January 15, the Federal Reserve reported industrial production in December shank by 0.4% the second month of contractions.

Industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities has been hit by a strengthening dollar and global economic weakness.

Warm weather also hit industrial production figures.

The unusual temperatures pushed utility output down 2% in December following a 5% decline in November.

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Walmart has decided to remove Confederate flag merchandise from stores and its e-commerce site in the wake of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church shooting last week that renewed outcry over the symbol.

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, said in a statement: “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer.

“We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our website.”

On June 22, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for removing the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. Following the shooting, which killed nine parishioners at a historic black church in the state, the symbol needs to go, she said.Walmart Confederate flag products

Governor Nikki Haley said at a press conference: “That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future.

“By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony.”

Walmart has sold a range of Confederate-themed products, including decals, knives and T-shirts. The move to eliminate the merchandise was previously reported by CNN.

The company’s Brian Nick said in the statement: “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell.

“Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”

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Tracy Morgan has settled the lawsuit against supermarket giant Walmart over a crash which left him seriously injured, and killed his friend, comedian James McNair.

In June 2014, a Walmart truck crashed in to the back of Tracy Morgan’s limo.

Prosecutors alleged the driver had not slept for more than 24 hours.

James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, was killed in the crash.

Tracy Morgan’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said Walmart “took full responsibility for the accident”.

All sides had worked hard to reach the undisclosed agreement, the lawyer added.Tracy Walmart settles Walmart legal case

Tracy Morgan said Walmart “did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families”.

“I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably.”

A representative for Walmart also called it an “amicable settlement”.

Tracy Morgan, 46, was left in a critical condition following the crash, suffering a traumatic head injury, a broken leg, nose and ribs.

The 30 Rock star will give his first interview since the crash to NBC’s Today on Monday, June 1.

Tracy Morgan will be interviewed by Matt Lauer live in the Rockefeller Center – which was the setting for 30 Rock – and will be joined by his lawyer Benedict Morelli.

Walmart had previously reached an agreement with the family of James McNair, 62, who grew up with Tracy Morgan in New York.

Walmart driver Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia, has pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault and is currently on bail.

Walmart is planning to open 115 new stores in China by 2017, the world’s biggest retailer has announced.

The move would increase the number of Walmart’s stores in the world’s second largest economy by almost a third.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at a news conference in Beijing on April 29: “Our aim is to become an integral part of China’s economy.”Walmart new stores in China

The push for expansion in China comes as the Asian giant’s growth continues to slow.

In February, Walmart said its net sales in China fell 0.7% for the three months to January from a year ago.

The new stores would open in major cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan from this year and create 30,000 more jobs, the company said.

Walmart also plans to spend $60 million to remodel more than 50 stores in 2015.

The company currently has 411 stores in China, according to its annual report.

Walmart also said it plans to close some under-performing stores and focus more on the fast-growing online grocery market.

Walmart has announced plans to raise wages for more than 500,000 hourly employees at its US stores.

America’s largest private employer said that it would raise salaries for 40% of its staff, as well as increasing its base hourly wage to $9 – $1.75 above the US minimum wage.

By February 1 2016, all current workers will earn at least $10 per hour.

The retail giant has recently been under pressure from labor groups.

In a blog post to workers, the retailer’s chief executive Doug McMillon acknowledged that a tough economic environment combined with shifting consumers habits had made Walmart institute some changes, which could have been detrimental to workers.Walmart wages

“We … made a few changes aimed at productivity and efficiency that undermined the feeling of ownership some of you have for your business,” Doug McMillon wrote.

“When we take a step back, it’s clear to me that one of our highest priorities must be to invest more in our people this year.”

Walmart shares fell 2.8% in early trading on news of the employee program.

A coalition of workers known as OUR Walmart – which is backed by traditional US labor unions – have been staging one-day strikes over the past two years demanding the retailer raise wages and improve its scheduling for workers, among other concerns.

Emily Wells, one of the leaders of OUR Walmart and a Walmart employee earning $9.50 per hour in Florida, said in a statement: “We are so proud that by standing together we won raises for 500,000 Walmart workers, whose families desperately need better pay and regular hours from the company we make billions for.”

In addition to raising the base wage for many workers, Walmart also said it would increase the wages paid to supervisors, as well as work to find ways to be able to schedule worker shifts further in advance.

It also said it would invest in worker training programs, to encourage Walmart employees to advance within the organization.

According to the Associated Press, with the wage changes, the average wage for a full-time worker at Walmart will rise to $13 per hour from $12.85, and $10 per hour from $9.48 per hour for a part-time worker.

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Walmart has refuted claims that it is deliberately stalling a legal action related to a car crash which injured Tracy Morgan and killed fellow comedian James McNair.

Tracy Morgan’s attorneys have accused the retailer of using truck driver Kevin Roper at the centre of the accident to block a resolution to the 30 Rock star’s case.

Kevin Roper is trying to put Tracy Morgan’s legal action on hold while he faces separate criminal charges.

He was at the wheel of a Walmart truck that crashed into Tracy Morgan’s bus.

James McNair died in the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike last June, while Tracy Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken bones.Tracy Morgan crash Walmart

Kevin Roper, who is not named in Tracy Morgan’s action, has been charged with death by vehicle and four counts of assault by vehicle.

Last month he filed a request to delay Tracy Morgan’s federal lawsuit while his criminal case proceeds in New Jersey’s state court.

Walmart said the accusation that it was “somehow behind Kevin Roper’s motion in an attempt to delay discovery is simply false”.

Its statement followed claims from Tracy Morgan’s legal team that Walmart was “attempting to gain an unfair advantage” and using Kevin Roper’s request as “a ploy to further delay this trial”.

Tracy Morgan’s legal team has accused Walmart of being “careless and negligent” in requiring Kevin Roper to drive while fatigued.

Walmart have contended that Tracy Morgan’s injuries and James McNair’s death were partly their own fault because they were not wearing seatbelts.

This year’s Black Friday was notably less intense as bargains spread over two days.

The crowds, gathering at the biggest shopping centers, appeared to have exhausted some of their shopping enthusiasm on Thursday.

As last year, many retailers had opened their doors early to try to pull shoppers in ahead of rivals.

“The consumer clearly enjoys shopping on Thanksgiving,” said Target’s chief executive, Brian Cornell.

When opening the New York Stock Exchange for Friday’s shortened day of trading, Brian Cornell welcomed the way the holiday season “has moved from an event on Black Friday morning to a multi-day event”.

Many shoppers headed straight to the shops whilst still digesting their Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, forming queues outside Macy’s by 6PM on what is becoming known as “grey Thursday”.

But if footfall was subdued, online sales came to the fore.

Wal-Mart said Thursday was its second-highest online sales day ever after last year’s Cyber Monday, the first Monday in December when many people order items they’d like to arrive in time for Christmas.

BestBuy’s website went offline after what the company said was “a concentrated spike in mobile traffic.”

The hope for many retailers is that the slowly improving US economy, combined with lower petrol prices, could push consumers to buy more than they have in recent memory.

Black Friday has been the top sales day of the year since 2005, according to ShopperTrak which tracks data on stores globally, beating into second place the Saturday before Christmas when last-minute shoppers stock up on Christmas gifts.

However, that could change this year as Thanksgiving shopping and online sales eat into Black Friday’s peak performance.

The earlier start to holiday shopping has placed even more focus on the plight of workers who must often leave their families in order to help shops open on Thanksgiving.

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Ferguson protesters began targeting Black Friday sales at major retailers overnight in a new tactic to vent their anger at a grand jury decision not to indict a white Officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown.

About 75 demonstrators protested peacefully, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”, bemusing bargain-hunters pushing their brimming shopping carts inside a Walmart in another nearby suburb of St. Louis.

They dispersed peacefully when ordered by a small group of police, moving on to a Target store where they staged a similar demonstration. More protests were planned for Friday.

Ferguson became a flashpoint for often troubled US race relations after Officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown on August 9.

The grand jury’s decision on November 24 not to charge Darren Wilson prompted a spasm of fury in Ferguson. About a dozen businesses were torched and more than 100 people were arrested in clashes with riot police that rumbled on into Tuesday night.

Before heading in convoy to Walmart late on Thursday, a group of some 100 demonstrators ate Thanksgiving dinner, sang, prayed and discussed their new strategy in the basement of a St. Louis church.

Ferguson, home to about 21,000 people, is a predominantly black city where almost all the political leaders and police are white.

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Tracy Morgan is “fighting to get better” but may not recover from the brain injury he suffered in a car accident in June, his lawyer has said.

“If there’s a chance for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that,” said Benedict Morelli.

“But we just don’t know.”

The 30 Rock comic is seeking compensation from retail giant Walmart after one of its trucks crashed into his limousine bus.

Fellow comedian James McNair died in the June 7 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Former Saturday Night Live star Tracy Morgan, 46, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident, in addition to a broken leg, nose and ribs.

The update on his condition came as lawyers met in New Jersey to agree on a schedule for Tracy Morgan’s legal action against Walmart.

Tracy Morgan spent several weeks in a hospital and in rehab and is “just not better” according to his attorney.

“We’re hoping and praying to get him back to where he was,” said Benedict Morelli.

“But the jury’s out.”

Truck driver Kevin Roper, who is not named in Tracy Morgan’s action, has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

Walmart are contending that Tracy Morgan’s injuries and James McNair’s death were partly their own fault because they were not wearing seatbelts.

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Walmart employees pushing for higher wages announced on November 14 they were planning protests at 1,600 Walmart stores nationwide on Black Friday.

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States.

The labor group, Our Walmart, said it had protested 1,200 to 1,400 Walmart stores last year on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, owner of Walmart brand stores, and the largest private employer in the United States, has been a target for activists in the contentious national debate over proposals to raise the minimum wage.

The announcement comes a day after police arrested 23 people outside a Los Angeles-area Walmart protesting what they say are the company’s low wages and its retaliation against employees who pushed for better working conditions.

The arrests on November 13 followed several hours of protest by a number of Walmart workers in California, according to Our Walmart and The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW.

About 30 workers entered a Walmart store in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles on Thursday morning and held a sit-down protest for two hours, UFCW spokesman Marc Goumbri said.

The workers then protested at a Walmart store in Pico Rivera in eastern Los Angeles where the arrests eventually took place.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Chief Executive Douglas McMillon last month said the company would work to phase out minimum wage jobs “over time”, a move seen as largely symbolic as just 6,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. workers make minimum wage.

The average full-time hourly wage at Walmart stores is $12.92, compared with the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the company.

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Wal-Mart has reported a fall in profits due to particularly cold winter weather.

The world’s largest retailer’s net income for the three months to the end of April was $3.58 billion, down 5% on a year ago. Net revenue was up slightly at $115 billion. Both fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Wal-Mart has reported a fall in profits due to particularly cold winter weather

Wal-Mart has reported a fall in profits due to particularly cold winter weather

Wal-Mart shares fell almost 2% in early morning trading.

The retailer also announced a 0.1% rise in like-for-like sales over the period at its UK supermarket business Asda.

Asda said it was reviewing the roles of more than 4,000 managers with a view to creating more roles in store.

Wal-Mart said that like-for-like sales at its own stores were flat during the three month period.

“Like other retailers in the US, the unseasonably cold and disruptive weather negatively impacted US sales and drove operating expenses higher than expected,” said group chief executive Doug McMillon.

“Wal-Mart’s underlying business is solid, and I’m confident in our long-term strategies.”

Wal-Mart forecast higher earnings per share for the current three-month period – $1.15-$1.25 compared to the $1.10 posted during the last quarter.

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Wal-Mart has sued Visa for $5 billion, alleging that the credit card company worked with large banks to fix the price of transaction fees it charged to the retailer.

The move comes after Wal-Mart opted out of a $5.7 billion settlement with Visa and MasterCard in December.

Wal-Mart and other US retailers, such as Target, objected to the terms of that agreement.

Visa had sued Wal-Mart in June 2013 to prevent the firm from filing a lawsuit.

Wal-Mart has sued Visa for $5 billion, alleging that the credit card company worked with large banks to fix the price of transaction fees it charged to the retailer

Wal-Mart has sued Visa for $5 billion, alleging that the credit card company worked with large banks to fix the price of transaction fees it charged to the retailer

Wal-Mart, which is the world’s largest retailer, argues that Visa worked with large banks “to illegally fix the interchange fees and inflate the network fees that Wal-Mart and other merchants pay on Visa charge card transactions”.

Those large fees then caused “enormous damage” between 2004 and 2012, the retailer claims.

Wal-Mart is now suing Visa for damages, which it estimates to be over $5 billion.

Visa declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed this week in Fayetteville, Arkansas, near Wal-Mart’s headquarters.

US authorities are trying to figure out how LSD got into a Wal-Mart steak that sent a nine-months-pregnant Florida woman, her two daughters and her boyfriend to the hospital.

All four were doing fine after the incident Monday night.

While being treated at the hospital, Jessica Rosado gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said at a news conference Friday there was no indication that Jessica Rosado, 31, her boyfriend, Ronnie Morales, 24, or her daughters – Elyana Serrano, 7, and Rayna Serrano, who celebrated her sixth birthday Friday – had any idea that the bottom round steak they ate Monday night was contaminated with the hallucinogen.

According to a Tampa police report, Ronnie Morales started feeling ill and called 911, but as he got sicker, Jessica Rosado decided to take him to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Authorities are trying to figure out how LSD got into a Wal-Mart steak that sent a Tampa family to the hospital

Authorities are trying to figure out how LSD got into a Wal-Mart steak that sent a Tampa family to the hospital

Once at St. John’s, Jessica Rosado also started feeling ill. Then her daughters started hallucinating.

Ronnie Morales and the girls were released Wednesday in good condition. Jessica Rosado went home Thursday with a healthy new son.

Police retrieved what remained of the steak and yanked the oven out of the family’s home for forensic tests — which the Hillsborough County medical examiner said Friday showed the presence of LSD.

The steak was traced to a Tampa Wal-Mart, which turned over all of its meat of that type for testing.

Police praised Wal-Mart for its cooperation and said that “at this point, it appears this is an isolated incident.”

Dianna Gee, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said it wasn’t clear where or how the meat was tampered with or whether it was contaminated before or after it was bought. She confirmed that the company had “pulled the remaining product from the store”.

Wal-Mart is “deeply disturbed about this situation” and is “committed to working with officials to get to the bottom of this,” Dianna Gee said.

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Wal-Mart – the world’s largest retailer – has reported a 22% drop in quarterly profit and given a weaker-than-expected earnings forecast for the coming year.

Net income for Q1 2014 fell to $4.4 billion from $5.6 billion a year earlier.

Wal-Mart said tough winter weather, cuts to government benefits and higher taxes contributed to the fall.

The retailer said reduced food-stamp benefits had been partly behind its lower profits, along with competition from heavy discounting during the holiday season.

Its total revenue for the quarter rose by 1.4% to $129.7 billion.

Wal-Mart’s net income for Q1 2014 fell to $4.4 billion from $5.6 billion a year earlier

Wal-Mart’s net income for Q1 2014 fell to $4.4 billion from $5.6 billion a year earlier

Wal-Mart said it expected net sales this year would grow at the lower end of its earlier forecast of 3%-5%.

Its earnings forecasts for this year also fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Wal-Mart expects profits to be between $5.10 and $5.45 per share, against expectations of about $5.54.

Chief executive Doug McMillon said he would “innovate to improve productivity” to keep prices low.

He added: “We will invest aggressively in e-commerce and increase our small store rollout in the US, as we have done in several other countries, to deliver value and convenience.”

Wal-Mart would keep focusing on providing “supercentres” and smaller stores closer to customers’ homes, he said.

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Wal-Mart bakery is offering Duck Dynasty birthday cakes and cupcakes.

Wal-Mart bakery is offering Duck Dynasty birthday cakes and cupcakes

Wal-Mart bakery is offering Duck Dynasty birthday cakes and cupcakes

Make someone happy, happy, happy with Duck Dynasty on A&E cakes and cupcakes from Wal-Mart bakery.

Prices and availability will vary by location.  Call your store’s bakery to confirm.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc is recalling Five Spice donkey meat sold at some outlets in China after tests showed the product contained the DNA of other animals.

Wal-Mart has announced it will reimburse customers who bought the tainted donkey meat and is helping authorities in eastern Shandong province investigate its Chinese supplier, the firm said late on Wednesday on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

The Shandong Food and Drug Administration earlier said the product contained fox meat.

The scandal could dent Wal-Mart’s reputation for quality in China’s $1 trillion food and grocery market where it plans to open 110 new stores in the next few years. China is the largest grocery market in the world and is set to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2016, according to the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is recalling Five Spice donkey meat sold at some outlets in China after tests showed the product contained the DNA of other animals

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is recalling Five Spice donkey meat sold at some outlets in China after tests showed the product contained the DNA of other animals

“This is another hit on Wal-Mart’s brand, meaning wealthy shoppers will start to lose the trust they had before,” said Shaun Rein, Shanghai-based managing director of China Market Research Group. CMR estimates Wal-Mart’s market share fell from 7.5% to 5.2% over the last three years.

Donkey meat is a popular snack in some areas of China, although it only accounts for a tiny fraction of overall meat consumption. In 2011 China slaughtered 2.4 million donkeys, according to country’s livestock industry yearbook.

Wal-Mart, French grocer Carrefour SA, McDonald’s Corp and KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc among others, have come under fire before in China over food safety issues, a sensitive topic in a country riddled with scares from a fatal tainted milk scandal to recycled “gutter oil” used for cooking.

Wal-Mart said it had set up an investigation team to look into the incident, would strengthen food safety rules and take legal action against the product supplier. It added the person in charge at the supplier factory had already been detained.

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Beyonce surprised supermarket shoppers in Massachusetts when she paid an unexpected visit to a Wal-Mart in Tewksbury.

The Single Ladies singer, 32, bought a doll for her toddler Blu Ivy at the store on Friday night, as well as a copy of her self-titled new album.

Beyonce surprised supermarket shoppers in Massachusetts when she paid an unexpected visit to a Wal-Mart in Tewksbury

Beyonce surprised supermarket shoppers in Massachusetts when she paid an unexpected visit to a Wal-Mart in Tewksbury

Beyonce announced over the shop loudspeaker she would pay the first $50 of all of their shopping bills and wished everyone in the store a Happy Christmas. The singer spent $37,500 in gift cards.

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Cracker Barrel announced it was pulling select Duck Dynasty products from its shelves and a new report indicates A&E warned Phil Robertson to keep quiet about controversial issues such as gay rights.

Southern restaurant and country store chain Cracker Barrel has taken a public stand in the Duck Dynasty controversy that has swiftly turned into a culture war.

Cracker Barrel has removed “selected products” that “might offend” some diners from shelves days after cast member Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments in a GQ magazine interview hit the internet, resulting in his suspension from the A&E reality hit.

On Saturday, Cracker Barrel posted the following statement on its Facebook page:”Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture.

“We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores.

Cracker Barrel announced it was pulling select Duck Dynasty products from its shelves following Phil Robertson’s controversial comments

Cracker Barrel announced it was pulling select Duck Dynasty products from its shelves following Phil Robertson’s controversial comments

“We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.

“We continually evaluate the products we offer and will continue to do so.”

There’s been no word from the company as to exactly which products were deemed offensive. On the Cracker Barrel website, almost every Duck Dynasty product is currently being sold at a discount.

The restaurant is the first major retailer to announce any action at all since Phil Robertson’s interview went public. It represents a small slice of a merchandise empire that saw sales of $400 million this year.

The biggest player in Duck Dynasty’s brand bonanza is unsurprisingly Wal-Mart, which accounts for about half that annual $400 million haul. The world’s largest retailer has yet to make any statement on Phil Robertson’s comments or the future of Duck Dynasty products in its stores.

In some Wal-Mart stores, mainly in the south, entire aisles are devoted to the bearded Robertson clan, including camouflage bedding, kids’ pajamas and prayer devotionals. At Wal-Mart’s annual shareholder meeting this past summer, the retailer announced its Duck Dynasty t-shirts, adorned with the faces of Phil Robertson and his family, were its bestselling products across both men’s and women’s apparel.

On Saturday evening, Cracker Barrel’s decision had already resulted in Twitter uproar among Duck Dynasty’s fans, many of whom have also threatened to boycott A&E over Robertson’s suspension.

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2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation.

US consumers spent around $1.7 billion less over the holiday weekend, with the average shopper spending $407.02 from Thursday to Sunday.

That’s down from $423.55 in 2012.

Retailers blamed stagnant wages and economic uncertainty for keeping wallets shut, as they slashed prices to lure reluctant shoppers.

In total, the National Retail Federation estimates that US shoppers spent around $57.4 billion this year, down 2.7% from $59.1 billion last year.

Sales on Black Friday itself were down, as retailers opened stores on Thanksgiving Thursday and offered more details earlier in the week to entice shoppers.

According to market research firm ShopperTrack, Black Friday foot traffic was down 11% and sales slumped by 13%.

2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years

2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years

Despite the gloomy start to holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation said it still expected holiday sales to surpass last year’s spending.

One beacon of hope for nervous retailers is that US consumers have spent more on online shopping than ever before.

“We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever,” said National Retail Federation’s Matthew Shay in a statement.

The day, launched in 2005 by online retail association Shop.org, became the biggest US online shopping day in 2011, according to comScore.

But it’s not just one day any more: in an effort to lure penny-pinched shoppers, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, declared this entire week “Cyber Week” and said it would offer sales every hour throughout the period.

However, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy have all lowered their holiday shopping forecasts, pointing to declining consumer confidence, high unemployment, and increasing price competition as hurting their bottom lines.

But if US consumers are unwilling to part with their dollars, international brands may take comfort in the increasingly global nature of Black Friday.

According to Borderfree, a company that helps build global online shopping sites for companies like Macy’s and J. Crew, US retailers saw online sales to international consumers rise 50% this Black Friday compared to last year.

Shoppers in Russia, South Korea, China, Germany and Sweden were the biggest spenders.

According to Borderfree, retailers can expect a “second peak” on Cyber Monday.

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Cyber Monday on December 2 kicks off Cyber Week 2013 at Wal-Mart.

Cyber Monday one of the year’s biggest shopping events for fantastic prices on electronics.

During Cyber Week, you’ll find special Cyber Monday deals that last all week long.

Cyber Monday kicks off Cyber Week 2013 at Wal-Mart

Cyber Monday kicks off Cyber Week 2013 at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart’s Cyber Monday deals and Cyber Week specials are some of the year’s best shopping values, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to shop and save. Plus, you’ll save even more with free shipping on thousands of items.

Get ready to save with these special Wal-Mart Cyber Monday deals.

Plus, sign up for Walmart.com emails, where you’ll find the latest updates on Cyber Week 2013.

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Outbreaks of violence have marred Black Friday shopping frenzy, as bargain-hunters besieged malls across the US.

In Chicago, police shot an alleged shoplifter; a robber shot a shopper in Las Vegas; and a California police officer was injured in a fight.

Black Friday, the day following the Thanksgiving holiday, is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.

This year it began even earlier amid a trend for Thanksgiving openings.

Twelve national chains opened their doors on Thursday, advertising aggressive discounts.

Some 15,000 shoppers stormed the flagship Macy’s in New York City as it opened for the first time ever on Thanksgiving evening.

There were several incidents of retail-related disorder across the US:

  • In Chicago, a police officer shot a suspected shoplifter driving a car that was dragging a fellow officer at a Kohl’s department store. The suspect and the dragged officer were treated in hospital for shoulder injuries. Three people were arrested, reports the Chicago Tribune
  • A shopper in Las Vegas who was carrying a big-screen TV home from a Target store on Thanksgiving was shot in the leg as he tried to wrestle the item back from a robber who had just stolen it from him at gunpoint, reports the Las Vegas Sun
  • At a southern California Wal-Mart store, a police officer’s wrist was broken as he tried to break up a fight between two men in the queue outside; there were two more fights over goods inside, reports the San Bernadino Sun
  • A 23-year-old man was doused with pepper spray and arrested after he allegedly attacked a police officer responding to an argument over a television at a Wal-Mart in Garfield, New Jersey, reports the Star-Ledger
  • Despite Wal-Mart’s pledge to overhaul its crowd-control measures, scenes of mayhem such as this one were apparently filmed at a store in Forth Worth, Texas
  • Two arrests were made after a man was stabbed in an argument over a parking space at a Wal-Mart in Virginia, reports local TV station WVVA
    Outbreaks of violence have marred Black Friday shopping frenzy, as bargain-hunters besieged malls across the US

    Outbreaks of violence have marred Black Friday shopping frenzy, as bargain-hunters besieged malls across the US

Workers’ groups have protested that the trend towards Thursday opening means retail employees can no longer spend the day at home with their families, which is supposed to be the point of Thanksgiving Day.

Some retail analysts have begun to dub the holiday Black Thanksgiving, or Grey Thursday.

Workers held demonstrations on Friday outside Wal-Mart stores in the city of Ontario, California, and in Elgin, Illinois, demanding better pay and conditions.

There was anecdotal evidence that the Thursday openings have led to an easing off in consumer footfall on Black Friday itself, though the increased popularity of online shopping could be another factor.

By late Friday morning, the number of shoppers in many stores was more typical of a normal Saturday than the usual frenetic start to the holiday season.

Some 97 million Americans hit the shops on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

In 2012, Americans spent $11.2 billion on Black Friday.

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From shootings and stabbings to minor brawls, Black Friday turned violent as shoppers became obsessed over discount deals.

After buying a big screen TV, a Las Vegas shopper was shot at around 9:45 p.m. local time late Thursday as he tried to take his purchase home, Lt. David Gordon of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told NBC News.

“As the victim was walking through his complex he was approached by a suspect who fired warning shots which caused the victim to release the television,” he said.

As the thief tried to load it into a vehicle the victim approached him to try and get it back, David Gordon added.

“The suspect fired two more shots and the victim was struck in the leg,” he said.

“He was not seriously injured.” 

Early Friday shoppers started arriving at a Chicago-area Kohl’s store just hours after a police officer shot the driver of a car that was dragging another officer responding to a call of alleged shoplifting which came in at around 10 p.m. local time.

Both the driver and the officer were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Three people were arrested, police said.

At least three people got into a fight in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Rialto, California, because shoppers were cutting in line, Sgt. Nicholas Borchard told NBC. Two were taken into custody after the fight at around 7 p.m. local time, he added. A police officer suffered a minor unknown injury.

From shootings and stabbings to minor brawls, Black Friday turned violent as shoppers became obsessed over discount deals

From shootings and stabbings to minor brawls, Black Friday turned violent as shoppers became obsessed over discount deals

A man in Claypool Hill, West Virginia, was slashed to the bone with a knife after threatening another man with a gun in an argument over a Wal-Mart parking spot, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt told WVVA. Both faced charges after the incident that happened at 6:30 p.m. the station reported.

Another shopper was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer after getting into an argument with a New Jersey Wal-Mart store manager about a television set. Officers arrived at the scene at 6:39 p.m. and once they had pacified the customer they also charged the shopper with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Stores have braced themselves for the Black Friday rush despite a Consumer Reports poll this week that found 56% of Americans had no plans to shop at all this weekend.

Because Thanksgiving fell on November 28, the latest possible date, there are six fewer shopping days this holiday season than last. The most common reason – named by 70% of respondents – was a desire to avoid the crowds.

A Gallup poll this year found that 53% of Americans are very or somewhat likely to do their shopping online, the highest share since Gallup started asking the question in 1998.

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Top 10 list of the best Black Friday TV deals to date for 2013 as of November 17, according to TVPredictions.com.

1.    Sam’s Club & Wal-Mart: Vizio 70-inch Smart LED TV: $998 (normally $1,600-$1,800). A 70-inch Smart LED TV from Vizio for $600-$800 off. This is the hallmark of what Black Friday sales are supposed to be all about, and with this deal you have two stores to choose from.

2.    Wal-Mart: Vizio 60-inch, 120Hz HDTV: $688 The flat-screen set normally goes for $899 or $999 online or at retail. Perhaps not the biggest bargain out there, but still a nice discount.

3.    Wal-Mart: Funai 32-inch 720p LED HDTV: $98 Funai may not be a name brand, but most television display experts say the picture quality on a 32-inch model varies little from brand to brand. At $98, this is a great deal for anyone looking for an extra HDTV for a kids’ room or guest room for example.

4. Best Buy: LG 55-inch, 120Hz LED TV: $499 (normally $1,000). This flat-screen TV sale is one of six doorbusters that the retailer has announced thus far. A 55-inch TV for about half the price is a true bargain.

Black Friday TV deals

Black Friday TV deals

5. H.H. Gregg: Sony 55-Inch 4K LED TV: $2,999 This price is $500 off the suggested list price from Sony, which recently slashed it $1,000 from $4,499. So bottom line is basically H.H. Gregg is selling the 4K set for $1,500 less than what it costs just a few months ago. (If you don’t want to wait until Black Friday, Amazon is currently selling the 4K TV set for $2,998.)

6. H.H. Gregg: Seiki 55-inch LED HDTV: $399 Seiki is also not a name brand, but when do you ever see a 55-inch HDTV for just $399? This set normally retails for about $300 more online and in-store.

7. Wal-Mart: Apple iPad Mini 16GB: $299 (with $100 gift card). The price is basically the same as you would find before Black Friday, but the $100 gift card arguably makes this a 33 percent discount. Note: Target is offering a similar deal at the same price, but their gift card is only $75.

8. Meijer’s: Apple iPad Air: $379 (with $100 off next Meijer shopping trip). The new Apple tablet will not only sell at roughly $120 less than the normal price, but you get $100 off your next shopping trip at Meijer’s. Awesome package.

9. Sam’s Club: Apple iPhone 5c w/2 yr. Contract: 96 cents. 96 cents is not a misprint. Great deal for a new iPhone, however limited supplies means you’ll have to get there early.

10. Sam’s Club: LG Blu-ray Player: $38 This high-def disc player is not compatible with a Smart TV device, but at $38, this is a great deal for Blu-ray enthusiasts.

The Black Friday deals can change from day to day as retailers leak more of their circulars. Check out BFads.net for the latest up to the minute news on holiday sales this year.

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Wal-Mart announced that it will begin its in-store Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year.

In addition, Walmart.com will begin offering Black Friday sales on a limited number of items Thursday morning.

The announcement comes as a growing list of retailers – from Best Buy to Toys R Us, and most recently Target – said they will push their Black Friday initiatives to Thursday.

Wal-Mart announced that it will begin its in-store Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year

Wal-Mart announced that it will begin its in-store Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year

“We’re always looking at what’s going on in the competitive environment,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, executive vice president, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S.

Wal-Mart will bring back its one-hour guarantee during events at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by an 8 a.m. event on Black Friday. If customers are in a designated line within an hour of one of these sales’ kickoffs, they are guaranteed to receive an item at a certain price either that night or before Christmas.

The program is expanding to 21 products this season from three last year, ranging from a Vizio 60-inch LED HDTV for $688, to a one-carat diamond and sterling silver pendant and earring set for $98. The stores will integrate wristbands so shoppers can browse the store while waiting for the events to begin.

Wal-Mart is also ramping up its social media and online components, advertising “manager’s specials” – when managers will lower prices for an entire category – on its local Facebook pages, and curating deal maps on its website to be viewed while in-store.