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News in brief

May 9, 2020 at 1:47 a.m.

Sustainability index removes Walmart

Walmart Inc. is no longer on the S&P 500's sustainability index because of low scores under United Nations' benchmark standards, the New York-based ratings agency said in its 2020 report.

S&P Global Inc. replaced Walmart with Costco Wholesale Corp. because Walmart's environmental, social and governance scores fell below its industry peers, MarketWatch reported Thursday. This year's index includes 311 members of the S&P 500.

The ESG Index debuted in January 2019. The annual assessment aims "to identify companies that are better equipped to recognize and respond to emerging sustainability opportunities and challenges," according to the ratings firm's website.

Walmart told MarketWatch that the company hadn't "engaged in a discussion or exchanged information with anyone from S&P regarding the S&P 500 ESG Index. ESG rating systems are evolving and current methodologies are inconsistent across rating organizations. We stand by our ESG work which has been recognized by others."

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The Bentonville-based retailer released its most recent Environmental, Social and Global Report in May 2019.

-- Serenah McKay

Stores open doors at LR outlets center

The Outlets of Little Rock shopping center at 11201 Bass Pro Parkway announced Friday that more than 15 of its 60 retailers and restaurants have reopened.

They include: Auntie Anne's/Cinnabon, Beef Jerky Outlet, Converse, Delicioso' Ice Cream, Dolce Vita Outlet, Fragrance Outlet, francesca's, Journeys, Kay Jewelers, Nike Factory Store, Rack Room Shoes, Skechers, Starbucks, VFIX and Zales Outlet.

Curbside pickup is available for the Le Creuset store. American Eagle Factory is scheduled to reopen today.

The shopping center never closed, but all retailers and restaurants eventually shut down on their own, said Teresa Deen, the center's general manager. The reopenings also will continue gradually, she said.

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The shopping center recommends shoppers follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, including wearing masks and adhering to social-distancing protocols. The center continues with deep cleaning, enhanced cleaning procedures and has hand-sanitizer stations.

-- Noel Oman

Arkansas Index up 15.28 in day's surge

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 366.79, up 15.28, its largest daily gain since April 6.

All stocks in the index rose, as all three major indexes posted gains.

Windstream shares rose nearly 49%. Murphy Oil rose 10.7% as oil prices continued to improve. P.A.M. Transport and Dillard's each rose more than 8%.

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

Business on 05/09/2020

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