US: Walmart's cash & carry business Sam's Club is shedding 11,200 jobs, its chief executive revealed this week. Brian Cornell said 10,000 workers who carried out product demonstrations in-store would lose their jobs, as well as 1,200 staff who recruit new members. Marketing company Shopper Events is taking over the contract for demonstrations, and is planning to recruit a similar number of staff.

"This was not a cost-cutting move," said Cornell. "We view it as an investment in building membership loyalty, attracting new members and ultimately fuelling growth for Sam's Club." However, last week Sam's Club confirmed it was shutting 10 stores to cut costs.

JAPAN: Supermarket sales in 2009 fell to a 21-year low of ¥12.83trn (£88bn), according to the Japan Chain Stores Association. Like-for-like sales were down 4.3% and fell below the ¥13trn mark for the first time since 1988, the association said. It is the 13th consecutive year-on-year drop.

NEW ZEALAND: More than 5,000 people queued outside a new Countdown supermarket in Auckland to compete for just 150 jobs. Although the country is officially out of recession, the number of people registered as unemployed is still rising, according to local reports. Wayne Dohmen, store manager, said the number of applications was a reflection of the state of the economy.

"There are some people out here that are pretty desperate for work and are pretty committed to do whatever it takes to try and get some form of work within the local community," he said.

FIJI: Supermarkets are facing a crackdown on hygiene standards after rusty cans, dirty stores and dead flies were found during government inspections. The chief executive of the country's consumer council said the standards posed a health and safety risk, and offending stores would be named and shamed if they didn't improve.

"The council will exercise its statutory responsibility and inform the public of those supermarkets that continue to flout health and safety regulations," said Premila Kumar.