business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The International Business Times reports that the California State Senate has voted down a bill that would have required the labeling of all products containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients.

According to the story, "The vote marked the second time in two years that California has rejected mandatory GMO-labeling, dealing a major setback to the vocal anti-GMO movement in the Golden State.

"The state would have been the second in the nation to institute such a labeling regime if it had approved the measure. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, signed the nation's first state-level unconditional mandatory GMO-labeling law into law on May 8. Connecticut and Maine previously passed GMO labeling laws, but the laws do not put labeling requirements into place unless other states pass similar bills."

• In the UK, the Daily Mail reports that the pressure is likely to increase this week on Tesco CEO Philip Clarke, who is expected to announce this week that Q4 sales were down as much as four percent, largely as a result of competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

Analysts are quoted in the story as saying things like they've "never been so gloomy about Tesco's prospects in 20 years, and that this is "a dangerous and frankly untenable place for a mass-market leader to be."

• The Los Angeles Times reports that the California State Assembly will consider a bill. already passed by the State Senate, that "would make it illegal to offer to sell misbranded seafood, and last week it passed the Senate on a 36-0 vote … The law would be enforced by the state Department of Public Health along with state and local prosecutors. First-time violators could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail, plus civil penalties."

Oceana, the conservation group, recently "found over a two-year period that 84% of sushi samples and 52% of all fish were mislabeled in Southern California. About one-third of all fish tested nationwide — 1,200 samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states — was mislabeled, based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines."

Reuters reports that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved the proposed acquisition of Jos A Bank Clothiers by Men's Wearhouse for $1.8 billion. The FTC said there would be little impact on competition because Jos. A Bank appeals to an older consumer and Men's Wearhouse caters to a younger, "trendier" customer.

• Call it yet another casualty of the technology/information revolution.

Source Interlink Distribution, described by the Wall Street Journal as "one of the biggest distributors of magazines in the US," is going out of business, ending "substantially all" of its operations and putting 6,000 employees out of work.

The story notes that the company had been unable to strike new deals with publishers and distributors, which it needed to do in order to remain viable in a digital world where fewer people than ever buy magazines at newsstands.
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