Pottery Barn apologized for selling a Halloween costume of a sushi chef and a kimono that an Asian civil rights group had complained were culturally offensive. The retailer confirmed late Monday that the items had been removed from its website. “We did not intend to offend anyone with our Halloween costumes and we apologize,” said Leigh Oshirak, vice president of public relations and marketing for Williams-Sonoma, parent company of Pottery Barn. Asian civil rights activists spoke out after the store began selling the products, a kimono and a sushi chef outfit featuring the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag. “Our problem is not with the attire itself; it is with the fact that Pottery Barn is marketing these outfits as costumes,” wrote Ling Woo Liu, director of strategic communications for Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Google is relying on a little social networking to put its Internet-connected glasses on the heads of more people. The expanded sales of the device known as Google Glass will come as part of an invitation-only program. The roughly 10,000 Glass owners who began testing the device earlier this year will each be allowed to invite up to three people to buy the device. The early Glass users are primarily computer programmers and winners of an online contest conducted earlier this year. The recipients of the invitations will have to pay $1,500 apiece for Glass, which works like a smartphone except that it’s worn on the head like a pair of spectacles.
Sears is considering separating its Lands’ End and Sears Auto Center businesses from the rest of the company as it seeks to focus its attention on bolstering its business at its Sears and Kmart stores. The retailer also plans to continue closing some of its unprofitable stores as it moves ahead on its turnaround efforts. The moves come as Sears Holdings Corp., headed by hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert, announced another quarter of declining sales. The company has been working for some time to cut costs and lower its debt.
U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles only slightly in May, despite a solid sales increase. The Commerce Department said Monday that business stockpiles rose just 0.1 percent in May from April, half the previous month’s increase. Sales increased 1.1 percent in May after being flat in April. That’s the best gain since February. The strong sales gain suggests companies may have to order more goods in the coming months to keep up with demand.