Hartmarx sale price rises-CEO

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CHICAGO, July 31 (Reuters) – The sale price for bankrupt Hartmarx, the men’s clothing company from which President Obama gets his suits, has risen to about $130 million, Chief Executive Homi Patel said in an interview, adding that he would step down as CEO on Friday.

Patel declined to say why the price had risen from $119 million, the price listed in court documents filed last month.

Lumber recovery to be dictated by housing

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – When the U.S. housing market was booming earlier this decade, lumber prices were too. When the housing market went into a slump so, too, did lumber.

Now, with nascent signs of a housing recovery, it’s natural to assume lumber prices will follow suit.

But experts say that it may be years before lumber recovers in any substantive way, thanks mostly to conservative production mixed with unpredictable demand.

Starbucks now most popular brand on Facebook

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The popular social networking website has a new champion among its brands: Starbucks.

With a combination of recent social networking promotions and front-page ads, the Seattle-based mega coffee company has attracted more than 3.6 million fans to reportedly passed Coca-Cola to become the most popular brand on Facebook.

Some retailers hope for Christmas magic

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Santa’s not getting any rest this year.

After U.S. retailers posted the longest running decline in same-store sales in nearly a decade, Sears, Kmart and Toys R Us announced Christmas-themed sales for the month of July. While actual sale dates and locations vary among the three chains, the event has drawn a lot of attention from news media, which had the once-in-a-year joy of headlining a story with “Christmas in July.”

U.S. retailers continue struggle with employee theft

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Walking the pharmacy aisle of a Target Corp discount store, shoppers can’t miss the many anti-shoplifting measures: locked display cases, alarm cords around boxes of expensive merchandise, display hangers with locks on the end.

Those represent only a fraction of the anti-theft advances created over the years to protect stores against shoplifters and organized retail theft gangs.

But what about the determined insider?

The war over an instant

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There’s a point in every Star Wars film when the good guy inevitably turns to his buddies and says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” right before all the big explosions begin.

One can only imagine that is what Nescafe was thinking when they saw Starbucks’ VIA instant coffee mix arrive in Chicago, Seattle and London. After all, Nescafe is nearly synonymous with instant coffee.

So, what is Starbucks thinking?