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Bill reverses right of New Jersey to claim unused gift card

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — A 2010 law that gave the state of New Jersey the authority to claim the value of unused gift cards as revenue has been repealed by the state’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Two years ago, a law was passed that allowed unused gift cards to be included as part of New Jersey’s unclaimed property law, giving the state the authority to claim ones that went unused for past years. The law went unforced as it sparked a lawsuit from retailers. It also caused American Express and select other companies to pull its gifts cards from store shelves rather than comply with complicated regulations.

The new bill would also prohibit retailers from charging fees on cards used infrequently or placing expiration dates on their use, the report said.

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Starbucks announces management changes to accelerate growth

BY Staff Writer

Seattle — Starbucks Corp. announced a series of management changes that it said it was undertaking to accelerate its innovation and growth. The changes come after Starbucks missed its global sales forecasts in April, mainly due to a downturn in Europe.

The company named Craig Russell, the senior VP U.S. Store Services, as senior VP of the Global Coffee division.

It also named Arthur Rubinfeld as the chief creative officer and president of Global Development and Evolution Fresh Retail division. Rubinfeld initially joined Starbucks in 1992, spending 10 years growing Starbucks retail presence from 100 stores to 4,000 stores around the world. He returned to Starbucks in 2008 to lead global store development.

In addition, Starbucks appointed Annie Young-Scrivner as executive VP and president of Starbucks Canada (the company’s largest market outside the United States). Young-Scriver previously held the title of global chief marketing officer. Starbucks said the global position will not be replaced since it has moved its marketing and category functions to the regional and market level in order to be more locally relevant.

“As we continue to sharpen our focus and strengthen our three-region operating model, local relevancy and speed of decision making are two critical requirements we must deliver so that we can seize opportunities,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO. “The leadership moves we announced today will enable us to more swiftly position ourselves for the exciting opportunities ahead while never losing sight of the fact that we are a global brand with a rich heritage in coffee, long-standing values, and the responsibility to use our scale for good.”

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Safeway launches online and mobile savings tool

BY Marianne Wilson

Portland, Ore. — Safeway launched an online and mobile shopping program, called Just for U, in the company’s Oregon and Washington divisions. The program, which delivers targeted savings directly to a customer’s Safeway Club Card, can be accessed through the new Safeway Mobile App for iPhone or Android.

Just for U organizes and personalizes the shopping experience by what is most important to each shopper. Deals are offered on items a shopper most frequently buys, as well as items they might be interested in – providing savings of up to 10% to 20% more than by using a Safeway Club Card alone.

“Gone are the days where shoppers have to clip coupons, browse through ads or promotional flyers, or bring a handwritten shopping list to the store. With Just for U, Pacific Northwest Safeway shoppers are able to easily save time and money,” said Steve Frisby, president of Safeway’s Portland and Seattle Divisions. “Shoppers can now download personalized savings just for them right to their Safeway Club Card and compile a customized shopping list online or while on-the-go using their mobile smart phone.”

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