Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is getting close to putting a lengthy government investigation of its foreign operations behind it, but the financial cost has been steep.The retail giant said in its generally glowing third-quarter financial results that it’s set aside $283 million, equal to about 1 cent per share, for a possible settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission of its nearly seven-year investigation of possible bribes that company executives used to clear a path for Wal-Mart’s international expansion. Payments by certain persons or entities with business interests to foreign officials is a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. “Discussions with government agencies in the FCPA matter have progressed to the point that we can now reasonably estimate a probable loss and have recorded an accrual as part of our third-quarter earnings results,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said. “We’re pleased talks have advanced and are continuing discussions with the government agencies as we work to reach a resolution.” Settlements with the SEC often include no admission of guilt, but Wal-Mart isn’t exactly getting off without a hitch.Since 2013, the retailer has spent $870 million related to the government and its own inquires related to the alleged scheme, along with purported enhancements to its global compliance efforts. If the expected settlement comes to fruition, Wal-Mart’s total cost from the investigation would exceed $1.15 billion.Shares of the retailer fell Friday afternoon 2.5 percent to $97.12 after hitting an all-time high of $99.62 the day before.An investigation into FCPA matters was generically disclosed at the end of 2011 by Wal-Mart, but a lengthy article in The New York Times a few months later detailed allegations that some of the retailer’s executives had paid about $24 million in bribes in the early to mid-Aughts to Mexican officials in order to obtain and expedite permits to expand its operations in the country.The investigation subsequently expanded to include operations in Brazil, China and India.Former Wal-Mart president and chief executive officer Eduardo Castro-Wright was implicated in the scheme, along with former executive Sergio Cicero Zapata, who allegedly admitted to a “campaign of bribery” in order to aid the retailer’s market dominance in Mexico, and told the retailer as much. Walmex, or Wal-Mart de Mexico, currently operates more than 2,400 locations in the country and is its largest private sector employer.The retailer said at the time that it went to the SEC “voluntarily,” but that was apparently years after it became aware of the alleged bribery scheme. The Times’ investigation focused on how Wal-Mart handled the purported 2005 admission that Zapata made to the company and alleged that an internal investigation was subsequently shut down without altering federal authorities.For More, See:Wal-Mart Dodges Shareholder Suit Over Bribery in MexicoWal-Mart Again Faces Allegations of Pay Discrimination in New Class ActionWalmart.com Tapping Lord & Taylor for 'Premium' Fashion
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.