US: A sex discrimination lawsuit filed against Walmart in 2001 may be set to proceed, exposing the retailer to billions of dollars of potential damages. According to plaintiffs, female workers were steered away from management positions in more than 3,000 stores.

However, Jeff Gearhart, general counsel at Walmart, said the accusations were false. "We do not believe the claims alleged by the six individuals who brought this suit are representative of the experiences of our female associates." The retailer plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

FRANCE: Carrefour now has more than 100 Dia stores across France following the launch of the hard discounter a year ago. Each store boast 1,700 lines, with more than 100 varieties of fruit and vegetables. "Carrefour is going to keep up this sustained rate of Dia store openings throughout the year," the company said.

ISRAEL: Unilever has secured a 90% stake in Strauss Ice Cream, Israel's largest ice cream maker. The manufacturing giant bought a 50% stake in 1996 and an additional 1% in 2001 to secure a 51% controlling position.

"We are trying to keep our business as simple as possible and have been pursuing our 'One Unilever' initiative for some time now, bringing different Unilever businesses together," a spokesman said.

RUSSIA: X5 Retail Group has introduced a reverse franchise model, under which its Pyaterochka and Perekrestok chains will be supplied directly by the X5 distribution centre. The model is intended to simplify the X5 franchise chain, which the group has been developing since 2002. There are currently 640 franchised stores, including 569 Pyaterochka stores, 53 Perekrestok-Express and 19 Paterson outlets.

AUSTRALIA: Coca-Cola Amatil has appointed former Foster's Australia MD John Murphy to head its alcohol group. Coca-Cola Amatil gained an 8% share in the beer market following a joint venture with Pacific Beverages and SABMiller in 2006 and in 2009 alcoholic beverages contributed 11% to the company's Australian revenue. Murphy starts as managing director on 1 July.