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Retail briefs

Wal-Mart eliminates 400 positions

Wal-Mart laid off 100 employees last week at its headquarters and eliminated 300 unfilled positions, in an effort to trim expenses. The retailer employs 11,000 at its headquarters and 1.2 million worldwide. The company also said last week it is on track to open or relocate 300 stores, with 147 already opened by mid-year: 110 Supercenters, 11 discount, four Neighborhood Markets and 22 Sam's Club locations.

Bloomingdales.com relaunches

Federated Direct has relaunched its bloomingdales.com web site, simplifying navigation and allowing easy access to merchandise. After the visitor selects a product category, such as casual table linens, product displays automatically scroll across the screen for easy browsing. The new Home Planner feature advises customers on current and future trends in the bath, bedroom, dining and kitchen, offering tips, product care and basic information.

New circular strategy for Kmart

Kmart has begun testing a new circular strategy in the Chicago market, distributing them on Friday rather than Sunday. Other markets are also being tested, though the company would not release any details.

House2Home calls seven more markets home

House2Home has almost completed its fifth and final phase of store openings, transitioning from the HomeBase stores to the new home decorating format. Three additional locations opened this past weekend, and seven the weekend before for a total of 36 stores. The three remaining stores will open Aug. 4.

Rug Merchant Retires from Home Depot Expo

Pat Shaw will retire as rug merchant and global product manager at Home Depot Expo Design Center. Though no final date has been set, Shaw is helping with the transition of his successor, Steve Ehrlich, formerly Expo's hardflooring merchant.

Fingerhut executive promotions

Fingerhut Companies has announced the addition or promotion of four executives. Having worked at Fingerhut for 22 years, John Christiansen assumes the role as senior vp, marketing, a new restructured position, from the position of vp, e-commerce marketing. Wayne Garten, who was cfo at Hanover Direct and then MicroWarehouse, now assumes the role of president of Popular Club, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fingerhut, and reports to Steve Lightman, Fingerhut's executive vp, catalog. He replaces Amy DiGeso, who left the company. Former cfo Nils Ytterbo has been promoted to senior vp and cfo, a new position. He now reports directly to Sherman. Joining Fingerhut in 1999, Kin Leung has been promoted from director to the new position of vp, finance, Fingerhut subsidiaries, reporting to Ytterbo. Prior to joining Fingerhut in 1999, he spent 14 years at Target Corp.

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