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  • The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart “will set up a $25 million private equity fund to support businesses owned by women and members of minority groups over the next five years,” and will be charged with investing “in businesses that offer merchandise and services to retailers with the goal of diversifying the industry's suppliers.” The NYT notes that the move comes as Wal-Mart is fighting the nation's largest sex discrimination class-action lawsuit, representing 1.6 million current and former female workers. “The lawsuit, filed in 2001, accuses the chain of systematically paying women less than men and offering women fewer chances for promotion,” the Times writes.

    The company said that of its 61,000 US suppliers, 5,200 are owned by women and minority group members.

    It also said that there was no connection between its establishment of the fund and its defense against the charges leveled in the class action suit./LI>

  • Wal-Mart said that its second experimental environment-friendly store will open next month in Aurora, Colorado; the first opened last summer in McKinney, Texas.

    Among the features of the new store: an environmentally friendly gas station; wind energy, solar energy experiments; the use of recycled product from Stapleton airport; and waterless urinals.

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