Retailing: Hardball Express

Hardball Express

There is no holiday cheer between American Express and Laura Ashley, the clothing chain. Last week the charge-card giant ceased doing business with the retailer, accusing Laura Ashley of persuading customers to use other cards. As a result, the 520 Ashley stores around the world have had to stop accepting Amex charges. Ashley had been trying for some time to bargain down the fees it pays for purchases on the card. The bicker exploded into a brawl when a shopper, who turned out to be an American Express executive, was discouraged from using her card at an Ashley store in New...

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