WAL-MART BOOSTS PAY: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has been under fire from critics for its salary policies, said Monday it will raise the starting pay in more than 1,200 Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Clubs in the U.S. by an average of 6 percent. In addition, the world's largest retailer will boost performance-based pay and implement new wage caps in an effort to provide incentives for sales associates to seek promotions. The Chicago City Council last month passed a living-wage bill for employees in stores of at least 90,000 square feet and with company revenues of at least $1 billion. Wal-Mart said its pay initiative was not linked to the Chicago vote.

LONDON FOG AUCTION: A Las Vegas bankruptcy court will hold a court auction on Aug. 17 for the London Fog brand. As reported, Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Brands are the stalking horse purchasers of the brand. The two firms formed LF Joint Venture, which is doing business as London Fog Licensing Group. It is the London Fog Licensing Group that would be the purchaser of record for the London Fog brand, with an agreed price tag of $18.1 million. The agreement is subject to better offers at the auction. Lodonn Fog is sold in about 15 doors, including some Neiman Marcus locations, and has an annual volume of less than $1 million.

CONSULTING HIRE: Barbara Cavanagh, who spent more than 20 years working at Saks Fifth Avenue, has joined The Doneger Group as senior vice president of the consulting division. Cavanagh will report to Abbey Doneger, president. Cavanagh's expertise is in sourcing, production, brand development and strategic planning. She left Saks in 2003 as vice president of private brands and earlier held buying and merchandising jobs at the store. Most recently, she was president of Kellwood New England.

TRADE NOMINEE: President Bush nominated John Veroneau to be a deputy to Susan Schwab, U.S. Trade Representative. Veroneau, a partner at the law firm of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, was general counsel at USTR from 2003 to 2005 and assistant USTR for Congressional affairs. He has held staff positions in the Senate and worked in the Defense Department.

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