...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal reports that the Nordstrom family has confirmed its decision to suspend efforts to take the company private, after encountering difficulty raising enough financing for an IPO. It is, however, only a suspension - the family says it will continue exploring the possibilities after the end-of-year holiday shopping season.

The financing issues appear to be related to a general malaise in the traditional retail business - retailers are closing, facing bankruptcy and high debt loads and/or closing stores and circling the wagons to fight off Amazon and the e-commerce threat.

I was just thinking about that phrase, “circling the wagons.” It seems to be a perfect way to express what many businesses do when faced with existential threats … instead of continuing to move forward, which is the best way to compete.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “California employers can no longer ask job applicants about their prior salary and — if applicants ask — must give them a pay range for the job they are seeking, under a new state law that takes effect Jan. 1.”

The bill applies to “all public- and private-sector California employers of any size. The goal is to narrow the gender wage gap. If a woman is paid less than a man doing the same job and a new employer bases her pay on her prior salary, gender discrimination can be perpetuated, the bill’s backers say.”

Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon all have passed similar laws, the story says.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has done a story about the most popular shopping chains in the US, state by state, and concluded that Target comes out on top.

Target was the most popular store in almost half the states, and Walmart was most popular in 16.

The outliers - Macy’s was most popular in Washington, DC … Uniqlo in Florida and Illinois … Fred Meyer in Idaho, Oregon and Washington … Primark in Massachusetts … and Bloomingdale’s in New York and Virginia.

Cold comfort, I’m sure.