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Bloomberg News reports that Wal-Mart lost a class action lawsuit that was filed by two former employees on behalf of more than 180,000 current and former workers, accusing Wal-Mart “of violating state labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock.” This is just one of more than 70 similar suits filed against Wal-Mart in US courts.

The jury now will consider awarding damages, which the plaintiffs’ attorneys say could reach as high as $162 million.

• Published reports say that Wal-Mart’s Asda group in the UK is hoping to get permission from Scotland authorities to erect wind turbines on two of its distribution centers as a source of alternative energy. The company reportedly would like to use the technology to power other warehouses and even some or all of its stores if the pilot is successful.

• The Toronto Star reports that Wal-Mart, “stung by criticism that its massive stores are eyesores that don't blend well with the communities in which they are located,” is planning to unveil “a new look that foreshadows a significant shift for Canada's largest retailer.” According to the Star, “Looking more upscale than the average big-box retail store, the new 135,000-square-foot building has an exterior — if not for its sheer frontage — that might be mistaken for a condo, constructed with tasteful beige and brown brick and surrounded by tree-lined streets. Decorative paving, benches and pedestrian lighting give the area a neighbourhood feel… Banished is the monster battleship grey exterior, including the bright red Wal-Mart sign. Gone too is the unsightly Tire and Lube Express, and all shipping and receiving areas will be enclosed when the centre opens in the summer of 2007.”
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