USA: A new online retailer for household and personal care products launched in the US this week. The founder of claimed the site would act as a hub for suppliers and make its money through advertising. Manufacturers set the price while the website handles the delivery and customer service, passing the costs back to the manufacturer.

"The vast majority of consumers don't buy their household essentials online, and we set out to change that at Alice by taking a completely fresh approach to the industry," said Brian Wiegand, chief executive and co-founder. "By eliminating the traditional retail layer, we allow the companies that produce these goods to connect directly with the people who use them."

BELGIUM: The EU will continue to enforce strict radioactivity checks on food imports from areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster for a further 10 years, due to continuing nuclear contamination. The current legislation, which restricted imports days after the accident in Ukraine in April 1986, will run out on 31 March 2010. In a draft law to be submitted to EU countries, the Commission said the risk was still present. Products affected include live animals such as horses, pigs, cows, poultry, sheep and goats, as well as meats and offal, eggs, dairy products, natural honey, non-cultivated mushrooms and certain wild berries and fruits such as cranberries and bilberries.

BRAZIL: Wal-Mart plans to invest 1.6bn reals (£487m) in Brazil during the remainder of 2009, opening 90 new stores and improving the 348 it already operates. Hector Nunez, chief executive of Wal-Mart Brazil, said the country would soon see economic recovery.

"The worst is over and from here on we will have a rebound in Brazil's economy," he said. Nunez said he expected Brazil's economy to grow between 1.5% and 1.8% in the second quarter of the year.

RUSSIA: Carrefour has opened its first hypermarket in Moscow. The store is the first of three due to open in Russia this year.

"We believe the opening is an important step for our development in Russia and will have a positive impact on the economic development of the city," said Jacobo Caller, director general of Carrefour in Russia. Meanwhile, reports claim Carrefour plans to close more than 20 Express stores in Poland. Local retailers Piotr i Pawel and Biedronka are understood to be interested in buying them. 

THE NETHERLANDS: An Ahold subsidiary is aiming to reduce its debt and interest payments by repurchasing all outstanding 8.25% guaranteed senior notes, worth a total of $690m and due in July 2010. Ahold Finance USA will fund the repurchase out of existing cash balances. Separately, Peter Wakkie, Ahold's chief corporate governance counsel, has announced his retirement.

John Rishton, chief executive, said: "He has played an enormous role in shaping Ahold's strategy for sustainable profitable growth."