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Roundup: AEO pulls t-shirt that was criticized by animal rights group; Wal-Mart opens counter offensive against Amazon this w...

| Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Starbucks announced Monday, July 13, 2015, that it is leading an initiative of more than a dozen companies to hire more young workers like Holly Ainslie, a barista in Seattle. The group — which includes Alaska Air, CVS, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart — has pledged to bring on more 16- to 24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and employees by 2018.
Starbucks announced Monday, July 13, 2015, that it is leading an initiative of more than a dozen companies to hire more young workers like Holly Ainslie, a barista in Seattle. The group — which includes Alaska Air, CVS, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart — has pledged to bring on more 16- to 24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and employees by 2018.

AEO pulls elephant T-shirt criticized by animal rights group

Clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters has stopped selling T-shirts that were criticized by an animal rights group because they featured a circus elephant.

The shirt was not intended to promote animal cruelty in entertainment, the South Side-based clothing retailer said Monday, although it didn't say specifically that pressure from Norfolk, Va.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals prompted the decision.

“AEO explicitly opposes the inhumane treatment of animals, and we do not tolerate animal cruelty in the design, manufacturing or testing of our products,” said the company, which did not provide any other information, such as why it discontinued sales of the shirt.

In May, PETA began asking the retailer to discontinue sales of the T-shirt because of abuses the group claims elephants suffer when they are forced to perform in circuses, said Stephanie Shaw, a spokeswoman in Los Angeles.

“We were asking them to remove the shirt completely, which they did, and not to promote any circus that uses elephants or any animal used for entertainment,” Shaw said.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. operates more than 1,000 American Eagle and Aerie brand stores.

Wal-Mart opens counter offensive against Amazon

The online price fight and the bickering are heating up between Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, and it's not even the holiday shopping season.

About a week since online king Amazon.com announced a sales bonanza for Prime members set for Wednesday that it touts as bigger than Black Friday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made a counter attack.

It lowered the threshold for free shipping for online purchases to $35 from $50 for at least 30 days and will offer discounts on thousands of items online Wednesday.

Starbucks leads drive to hire young workers

Starbucks Corp. is leading more than a dozen companies in an effort to hire 100,000 young workers with “systemic barriers to jobs and education” in the next three years.

The coffee giant said Monday the coalition of employers includes Alaska Air Group Inc., CVS Health Corp., Lyft Inc., Macy's Inc., Microsoft Corp., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The group has pledged to bring on more 16- to 24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and employees by 2018 — the continuation of a promise by Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz in March to hire more from the demographic.

Other business news

Rex Energy Corp. is promoting senior Vice President Robert W. Ovitz to chief operating officer to replace Patrick M. McKinney, who is leaving next month after nearly five years with the State College-based company. Ovitz spent 13 years with Noble Energy before joining Rex last fall. He will directly oversee the company's oil and gas drilling in the Marcellus shale and in Illinois along with its engineering and exploration activities, Rex announced Monday.

— Staff and wire reports

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