Spain's Inditex, the largest fashion retailer in Europe by revenue, reported resilient profits for 2008, but said it would scale back expansion plans as the economic downturn worsens. Inditex is on track to become the world's largest clothing retailer as it continues to expand, while U.S. fashion giant Gap closes more stores than it launches.
German retailer Metro is planning to open a chain of consumer-electronics locations throughout China in a bid to compete against Best Buy. Metro's Media Markt unit is joining forces with Foxconn Technology of Taiwan to open shop in Shanghai next year, the first of possibly hundreds of stores.
The new Treasury program to aid the financial sector likely won't help to prevent the impending wave of commercial mortgage foreclosures in the U.S., real-estate experts say. "This isn't designed to head off foreclosures," said Thomas Barrack Jr., head of the Colony Capital private-equity firm. "This is designed to start the banks lending."