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• The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is considering extending a moratorium on issuing new industrial bank charters for one year – a move that would delay 14 pending applications, include those from Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

A six-month moratorium was instituted last July, but that freeze ends in two days and the FDIC has scheduled a public session for that day to address the issue.

The FDIC is not commenting on the report.

The Journal notes that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the House Financial services Committee, wants to permanently prevent non-financial services companies from owning banks. And Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has said that he thinks the issue deserves more study.

Forbes reports that Wal-Mart plans to explore the possibility of acquiring more retail entities in Japan.

Wal-Mart owns about 54 percent of Seiyu there, and has the option of increasing its stake to 66 percent. It made a play for Daiei, another Japanese retailer, last year but lost out at Aeon, the nation’s largest supermarket chain.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart’s Asda Group in the UK plans to start selling electrical appliances such as televisions, washing machines and refrigerators over its website, starting today. The company says its goal is to earn a five percent market share in this segment by 2012.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart has decided not to participate in New York’s Fashion Week next month, a change in strategy since 2005, when it decided to start showing its fashion collections at the twice-yearly event. When it first started going to Fashion Week, Wal-Mart also began advertising its clothing lines in the pages of Vogue, but it has hit a few roadblocks since then – concerns that cultivating a high fashion image could alienate its traditional customer base, as well as disappointing sales with the new, trendier lines of clothing.

Wal-Mart said it has not yet decided about whether it will attend the September 2007 Fashion Week.
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