Biden walks the picket line

Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to walk a picket line, joining striking auto workers in Michigan on Tuesday.

It was an unprecedented display of union support as Biden and former President Donald Trump prepared for a fight for working-class voters.

The United Auto Worker is striking at dozens of facilities owned by automakers General Motors (GM:NYSE), Ford Motors (F:NYSE) and Stellantis (STLA:NYSE), demanding pay raises in the mid-30% range and an end to concessions it agreed to during the 2007-09 recession to keep the industry afloat.

The UAW on Friday expanded its strike at Ford and GM, but not at Stellantis.

Ford shares lost 0.24% last week, while General Motors shares gained 1.17%.

Retail theft forces Target to close down stores

Target (TGT:NYSE) is closing a handful of stores in U.S. cities, citing theft and safety concerns.

The retailer announced that nine stores in the New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, markets would close effective Oct. 21. Earlier this year, Target forecast that losses from theft as well as lost or damaged goods would cut into profitability by more than $500 million.

Big retailers say shoplifting is on the rise, leading to responses such as locking up merchandise, hiring off-duty police officers and closing some hard-hit stores.

Target’s announcement follows a string of violent incidents at retailers. A CVS (CVS:NYSE) store manager in Mesa, Ariz., was shot and killed earlier this month after suspecting a man was stealing from the store.

Target shares fell 1.77% last week.

Peloton and Lululemon join forces

Fitness equipment maker Peloton (PTON:NASDAQ) and yoga-wear giant Lululemon Athletica (LULU:NASDAQ) announced a five-year partnership on Tuesday, ending turf wars between the two companies.

Lululemon said it would discontinue sales of its Studio Mirror home fitness device and steer those customers to Peloton’s digital fitness classes instead, while Peloton will start selling co-branded Lululemon attire at its stores and website.

The two companies have tried to move into each other’s territory in recent years. Lululemon acquired Mirror in 2020 to compete against Peloton, and Peloton in 2021 launched an apparel brand that sparked a legal fight with Lululemon.

Peloton shares gained 13% last week, while lululemon shares lost 0.63%

GameStop has a ‘new’ CEO

GameStop (GME:NYSE) named billionaire activist investor Ryan Cohen as chief executive officer, ending a monthslong stretch during which the company pursued turnaround efforts without a CEO.

Cohen joined the video retailer’s board as a director in 2021, rose to chairman as part of board restructuring, and brought on former Amazon executive Matt Furlong as CEO. Earlier this year, GameStop terminated Furlong as CEO and elevated Cohen to executive chairman.

Cohen has sought to revive GameStop’s sales by increasing focus on e-commerce and launching an NFT marketplace, but those efforts have fallen flat.

GameStop shares fell 4.18% in the past week.

FTC beams searchlight on Amazon

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states on Tuesday sued Amazon (AMZN:NASDAQ), alleging it illegally wields monopoly power that keeps prices artificially high, locks sellers into its platform and harms its rivals.

FTC chair, Lina Khan, is a longtime critic of Amazon, and the Biden administration has taken an aggressive approach to enforcing antitrust laws.

Since starting as an online bookseller in 1994, Amazon now commands 38% of all online retail in the U.S., is the world’s largest cloud-computing company and the third-largest U.S. digital advertiser by revenue.

David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel and head of public policy, said: “The lawsuit filed by the FTC today is wrong on the facts and the law, and we look forward to making that case in court.”

Amazon shares lost 1.52% last week.