OPERATIONS

Cardtronics to roll out ADA-compliant ATM services to FirstBank

BY Staff Writer

Houston — Retail ATM owner Cardtronics said Tuesday that it has forged an ATM managed services agreement with Lakewood, Colo.-based FirstBank, covering the segment of its ATM network located in King Soopers grocery stores.

As part of the agreement, Cardtronics has implemented all hardware upgrades necessary to bring the King Soopers portion of the $11 billion-asset bank’s ATM network into compliance with revised “Americans with Disabilities Act regulations set to take effect in 2012.

King Soopers is one of the local brand names operated by The Kroger Co.

In total, the FirstBank-Cardtronics agreement covers 89 ATMs, all located in King Soopers grocery stores scattered across Colorado.

“With the readiness deadline less than six months away, Cardtronics’ ability to efficiently and cost-effectively prepare FirstBank’s King Soopers ATM network for the new ADA regulations delivers both compliance and peace-of-mind,” said Jeff Kaufman, executive VP FirstBank Data Corp.

The revised Americans with Disabilities Act, with changes set to take effect March 15, 2012, mandates that all U.S. ATMs meet ADA guidelines regarding accessibility to the blind or visually impaired.

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OPERATIONS

Holiday hiring seen as flat to slightly lower

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Holiday retail hiring is expected to be flat or even slightly lower compared with last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ annual holiday hiring forecast.

The outplacement consulting firm said 627,000 seasonal retail jobs were created from October through December in 2010. The total was up 27% from 2009, and nearly double the 26-year low that occurred in 2008.

"It would be surprising if holiday hiring exceeded last year’s level," stated John Challenger, chief executive, Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger said that holiday employment gains would most definitely not reach pre-recession levels, which averaged around 720,000 extra seasonal workers added from October through December.

“Most indications so far point to about the same level of hiring as last year,” he said.

A recent survey of major U.S. retailers by the Hay Group found 68% plan to hire the same number of seasonal workers as last year. About one-fourth of respondents said they plan to reduce the number of seasonal hires.

The uncertain state of the economy is credited with retailers’ decision to pull back on hiring. But another factor that may suppress increased hiring is the fact that retailers are heading into the holiday season with about 160,000 more workers than a year ago, according to Challenger.

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OPERATIONS

NRF launches campaign to push retail jobs, innovation

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation has launched a year-long advocacy campaign to advance a “Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda” on behalf of the U.S. retail industry.

At the top of the industry’s agenda, NRF said, are corporate tax reform, passage of pending Free Trade Agreements, leveling the playing field for sales tax collection by passing the Main Street Fairness Act, and modernizing aging transportation infrastructure that slows down the retail supply chain and drives up costs. Other priorities include the repeal or delay of a health care employer mandate that would force job cuts, and protecting consumer privacy while promoting innovations like mobile marketing.

A centerpiece of the campaign – which will include lobbying, grassroots, advertising, social media, earned media and more – is an interactive website, RetailMeansJobs.com, which is designed to engage the retail community with the agenda.

“The retail industry supports a quarter of our nation’s jobs and will continue to be at the forefront of our economic recovery,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “This campaign aims to ensure that we do everything possible as a nation to support the vitality of the retail sector, in order to create jobs and continue to foster U.S. innovation and competitiveness.”

The campaign, which NRF said is unprecedented in its 100-year history, will be marked by significant investments in grassroots, social media and communications, including:

  • Grassroots activation of retail businesses, employees and consumers in hundreds of communities and congressional districts across the country, including an open letter to the retail industry to urge participation;
  • Outreach to Congress to highlight the value of retail to the U.S. economy and jobs;
  • Advertising in multiple media including print, radio and online; a viral campaign to showcase the “Faces of Retail” by engaging consumers and employees in a video contest to be launched in 2012;
  • The release of new research that measures retail’s unique role as the nation’s most significant driver of jobs, innovation and consumer value;
  • Social media campaign including a viral video, with heavy emphasis on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; and
  • International push to highlight the importance of retail to the global economy.

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