July 12, 2008 in Business

SHOPPING LIFE

 

Salt Lake City- based Overstock.com went entirely fur-free on Thursday.

The decision was inspired by the Internet retail giant’s discovery that much of the purported raccoon fur on the market – including some in its supply – is actually made from dog pelts.

The Humane Society detailed this, along with numerous atrocities allegedly committed by “fur factories,” in a letter to the company that called for the end of its pelt retail.

“The more we heard about the fur industry, the more we realized we didn’t want anything to do with it,” said Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com.

However, Overstock.com’s decision comes during an upswing in demand for fur. Halting its retail sales will be costly. According to Byrne, Overstock.com estimates it will lose up to $5 million in pelt revenues.

Still, the Humane Society believes that in the long run the decision could be a fiscally sound one.

“While there is this cost, it’s our hope that when companies make socially responsible decisions, they attract the support of humane-minded consumers,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

“Corporate social responsibility must include animal welfare,” he said. “We have options in our society; we can do better than to kill animals for their fur.”

STAY AND WATCH: Tax rebate checks boosted spending last month at wholesale clubs and other stores where shoppers go looking for bargains, but many retailers continued to struggle as gas prices and layoffs worry consumers.

Wal-Mart said it posted sales increases in all of its merchandise units, including food, clothes and entertainment. Sales of flat-screen television sets posted a “high double-digit” gain, the company said.

Such purchases reflect consumers’ desire to entertain themselves at home when they can’t afford a vacation, said Jharonne Martis, senior research analyst for Thomson Reuters.

“A lot of people have been laid off,” she said. “As long as (consumers) don’t feel secure about their jobs, they’re not going to spend freely.”

From wire reports


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