OPERATIONS

Bon-Ton relaunches updated loyalty program

BY Staff Writer

Milwaukee — The Bon-Ton Stores announced that its “Your Rewards” loyalty program has been revamped and will be reintroduced beginning Feb. 15.

The new program will allow customers to begin earning rewards as soon as he or she $200 on their “Your Rewards” credit card at any of The Bon-Ton Stores seven nameplates, including Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers or online.

The new program rewards customers in a much more tangible, flexible way, giving them a $20 Rewards Card for every $200 spent. Each reward can be applied to a purchase of $50 or more, with certain exclusions, or they can be accumulated and stacked for greater savings as they are earned.

Customers will be able to use multiple Rewards Cards with their purchases, thereby “stacking” their redemption which will start at $20 off $50 and increase as rewards are earned: $40 off $100, $60 off $150, $80 off $200 and up. For cosmetics or fragrance purchases, customers will receive $10 off a $50 purchase and they can stack the rewards to save even more.

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Whole Foods narrows forecast despite strong Q1

BY CSA STAFF

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market reported that its first-quarter net income rose 24% to $146 million, exceeding expectations, on stronger revenue. But the grocer narrowed its revenue forecast and said its earnings growth may slow through the remainder of the year amid higher store-opening costs and plans to increase its selection of lower-priced products.

Total sales increased nearly 14% to $3.86 billion for the 16-week period that ended Jan. 20. Same-store sales were up 7.2% for the quarter.

Whole Foods opened 10 stores in the first quarter and has opened one store so far in the second quarter. It plans to open five additional stores in the current quarter.

The company said it recently signed 11 new leases averaging 38,800 sq. ft. in size. These stores are scheduled to open in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.

The retailer also closed on the purchase of six locations from Johnnie’s Foodmaster on Nov.30, which expands its presence in the Boston area. It is remodeling the stores and plans to reopen them under the Whole Foods Market banner in its 2013 fiscal year.

"We opened a record number of stores and delivered another quarter of strong sales and earnings growth," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "We are well-positioned to internally fund our expansion plans and have the pipeline and infrastructure in place for square footage growth to accelerate through 2014 and hopefully beyond."

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CEA praises efforts to ensure tax fairness

BY CSA STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association has issued praise for the U.S. Congress for introducing legislation to establish sales tax fairness.

“We commend congressional leadership for their commitment to enact legislation that will require all retailers to collect owed sales taxes. Today, brick and mortar retailers must collect owed sales and use taxes, while Internet retailers do so only in limited circumstances. As state budgets are hurting, forcing layoffs of essential public safety employees, now is the time to give states the ability to collect this much needed, and legally due, source of revenue. We urge Congress to act quickly and enact this vital legislation,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.

The Marketplace Fairness Act was introduced bySenators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), and Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and John Conyers (D-MI).

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