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Walmart scrapping 1-way aisles policy

Walmart Inc. is ending stores' one-way aisle restriction that it implemented as a safety measure to help prevent the spread of covid-19, a Walmart spokesman said Wednesday.

Many of the Bentonville-based retailer's stores already allow two-way traffic, and the rest have until Oct. 1 to do so, Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said.

Customers have generally taken safety guidelines seriously by wearing masks and practicing social distancing, Lundberg said. This has allowed Walmart to ease some measures, including opening a second store entrance as well as lifting the one-way shopping restriction.

"For the foreseeable future, we will continue with most of the measures currently in place, such as requiring masks; enhanced cleaning routines, including spraying carts after use; plastic shields at our registers; and doubling the number of health ambassadors to staff both entrances," Lundberg said. Walmart also will continue to follow all local and state government mandates.

"The health and safety of our associates, customers and communities will continue to guide all our decisions," Lundberg said.

-- Serenah McKay

CEO says sorry for Black-execs memo

NEW YORK -- Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Charles Scharf apologized Wednesday for comments he made suggesting that it is difficult to find qualified Black executives in the financial industry.

Scharf said in a memo to employees "there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from" in corporate America. The memo was written in June but became public only this week.

The comments and similar statements made in a Zoom meeting, reported by Reuters, led to a backlash in Washington and on social media.

Scharf on Wednesday said in a prepared statement that his comments reflected "my own unconscious bias."

"There is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation," he wrote. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo has pledged to increase hiring of minority candidates, particularly through Black colleges and universities, as well as new anti-racism training programs at the bank.

-- The Associated Press

Down day notched in Arkansas Index

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 412.84, down 6.94.

"Equities continued their downward trend driven by increased market pessimism regarding a bipartisan stimulus plan along with a resurgence in virus activity as the energy and information technology sectors underperformed," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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