OPERATIONS

American Express stops selling gift cards in New Jersey over ZIP code requirement

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — American Express Co. has become the first company to pull its gift cards from being sold in New Jersey drug stores, supermarkets and convenience stores in response to a controversial new revision in the state’s unclaimed property law. (The only way New Jersey residents can now buy AmEx gift cards is directly from the company.)

Under the new law, New Jersey’s Treasury Department will soon require sellers to obtain the ZIP code of everyone who buys a gift card. The state believes that by so doing, it can claim to the value of any card that is not redeemed after two years. Before the legislative revision, if a gift card went unused, the issuing business kept the money.

John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, said the law poses serious administrative burdens to businesses and potential problems for consumers.

“Retailers and gift card issuers like American Express have had serious concerns about the escheat law since it was passed nearly two years ago,” Holub told the Associated Press. “I fear many retailers are likely to follow American Express’s lead because the legal risk, technological burden and steep cost of complying is simply too great.”

There is no way American Express Co. can ensure compliance with cards not bought directly from AmEx, company spokeswoman Vanessa McCutchen told The Associated Press, so the company decided to pull its cards from the shelves.

The requirement, the first of its type in the country, is being challenged in court by the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, American Express and other groups. However, an injunction against ZIP code collections was lifted in March and the state Treasury is reportedly working with gift-card sellers to hammer out rules for its implementation.

Two years ago, the New Jersey Legislature passed a law that allows the state to claim the proceeds of gift cards bought in the Garden State if customers don’t use them within two years. It saw the unused cards as an untapped revenue source that could help with the state’s budget shortfall.

A lawsuit followed and a U.S. District Court judge enjoined the collection of ZIP codes. Although the merits of the case have yet to be argued, the injunction was lifted after a subsequent hearing, paving the way for Treasury to issue guidance on new ZIP code collection requirements, the Associated Press reported.

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STORE SPACES

Ruby Tuesday selects USM for integrated facilities management

BY Staff Writer

Norwalk, Conn. — Emcor Group announced that its subsidiary, USM, has been awarded a three-year contract for integrated facilties management at 742 Ruby Tuesday-owned restaurants throughout the United States.

USM will be responsible for comprehensive facilities management and critical asset management, including all refrigeration, food and kitchen equipment, and all other traditional facilities services for the contracted Ruby Tuesday restaurant locations. Scope of work includes performing full electrical, HVAC, fire protection, and plumbing services, as well as all landscaping and snow and ice management services. Additionally, USM’s scope of work includes repairs and maintenance on all kitchen equipment, food service equipment, refrigeration, ceilings, fixtures, floors, sidewalks, windows, cabinets and doors, as well as support and maintenance of lighting, material handling equipment, and parking lot repair and painting.

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News

Nordic retailer selects ExtraHop’s APM solutions

BY Staff Writer

Seattle — ExtraHop Networks, a provider of network-based application performance management (APM) solutions, announced that it has won four new customers in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, including Axstores, a retail group in the Nordic region with more than 390 beauty, fashion, home furnishing, and department stores.

“Whether it’s a customer browsing one of our online stores or an employee entering an order at checkout, the success of our business depends on fast and reliable performance,” said Stefan Pörn, operations manager of Axstores. “By providing a top-down view of application performance, the ExtraHop system enables us to measure performance across all tiers of our application environment and ensure that our customers and employees can quickly complete transactions and access information.”

Previously, Axstores measured the performance of individual elements of the infrastructure but could not easily isolate the root cause of interrelated problems. “However, with the ExtraHop system, we can immediately see all the devices present on the network and their dependencies, as well as the impact of core network services such as LDAP and DNS on application performance,” Pörn said.

When Axstores needed a monitoring solution to ensure the successful migration of a critical business application, the company implemented the ExtraHop system to perform the following business-critical functions:

  • Isolate an issue in the application servers that slowed performance for retail stores;
  • Solve database performance issues related to indexing and poorly written application queries;
  • Detect TCP timeouts caused by DNS issues and server misconfigurations using IPv6 instead of IPv4; and
  • Optimize HTTP front-end communications with back-end business systems.
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