A weekly round up of the hottest international retail and consumer news.

1. Oxford Street, sans cars

Oxford Street is to be pedestrianised by the end of next year. The central London shopping strip is one of the busiest in London, visited by over 4m people a week. The section between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus will ban buses, black cabs and cars. The move is intended to protect residents living in the area from the pressures of traffic and pollution.

2. Message in a blouse

Fashion retailer Zara is to create a hardship fund to compensate Turkish garment workers who reportedly went unpaid for three months. According to shoppers in Istanbul, cries for help in the form of handwritten notes were found in the pockets of Zara garments. The messages said: "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it." The Spanish chain has a history of labour-related disputes.

3. Starbucks offloads Tazo tea brand

Starbucks is selling its Tazo tea brand, to Unilever for US$384m. The global coffee chain purchased it for $8.1m in 1999. Starbucks wants to focus on developing its Teavana business, which recorded $1.6bn in sales in the past year. The plan is to grow Teavana into a $3bn business over the next five years.

4. Luxury cosmetics demand drives L’Oréal sales

Strong revenue growth in L’Oréal’s high-end skin and make-up ranges helped offset a sluggish performance in its mid-tier products in the third quarter. L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, said demand from Chinese shoppers had also boosted growth. Revenue came in at €6.1bn between July and September.

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