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Deloitte: Stable economic fundamentals keep consumer spending outlook on track

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index (Index) dipped slightly in April, primarily due to an increase in the tax rate, while other economic fundamentals remain steady. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

"Despite a minor backslide in April, the Index has remained stable over the past six months, staying at a level that typically indicates sustained consumer spending in the near term," said Daniel Bachman , senior U.S. economist, Deloitte Services LP. "The employment picture continues to improve gradually, with revisions in the last two months reflecting stronger growth than initially reported. The retail sector – the largest private sector employer – added 29,000 jobs in April, bolstering confidence in the industry and the broader economy, even as the effects of the sequester and tax increases continue to impact consumers."

"The question at the top of retailers’ minds is whether the economy will limp along or accelerate during the second half of the year," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution sector leader. "While retailers try to get consumers to warm up to summer merchandise after a cool spring, they are also in the thick of holiday planning and inventory orders.”

Long term, Paul said, retailers should be prepared for continued consumer resilience, but stay vigilant should a skittish consumer return when the debt ceiling debate resumes.

“Retailers should consider how to most effectively use their stores in combination with mobile and dot com to win in the omni-channel game,” Paul said. “The retailers who plan for scenarios where merchandise is offered both online and in-store while also responding to inventory levels and weather trends with nimble pricing will likely see fewer markdowns and more full-price sales."

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Walmart, Starbucks execs named to PCI board

BY CSA STAFF

WAKEFIELD, Mass. — PCI Security Standards Council has appointed representatives from retail merchants such as Walmart, Woolworths Limited and Starbucks, as well as from the Retail Solution Providers Association, to its board of advisors.

The open, global forum for the development of payment card security standards is looking to its board to provide counsel to SSC leadership.

The board of advisors, selected by the council’s more than 690 participating organizations, will include Walmart’s SVP of finance and assistant treasurer Mike Cook, Starbucks’ VP of global infrastructure and enterprise security Dave Estlick, Woolworths’ group information risk manager Peter Cooper and the Retail Solution Providers Association’s president and CEO Joseph Finizio. Representatives from Bank of America N.A.; Bankalararasi Kart Merkezi; Barclaycard; British Airways PLC; Carlson; Cartes Bancaires; Cielo S.A.; Cisco; Citigroup Inc.; European Payment Council AISBL; FedEx; First Bank of Nigeria; First Data Merchant Services; Global Payments Inc.; Ingenico; Micros; Middle East Payment Systems; PayPal Inc.; RSA, The Security Division of EMC; and VeriFone Inc. will also sit the board and offer their perspectives in the development of PCI Standards and other payment security initiatives.

Board of advisor members will be asked to provide strategic and technical input to PCI SSC on specific areas of council focus. According to PCI, past board members have provided reach into key industry verticals and geographies to help raise awareness and adoption of PCI Standards, have shared their experience with implementing PCI Standards in presentations at the annual community meetings and have contributed guidance on training product development and led special interest groups.

“Active involvement from our participating organization base is critical to ensuring the PCI Standards remain at the front line for protection against threats to payment card data. Once again I am impressed by the turn out in the election process. It’s particularly encouraging to see new markets looking towards open global standards like the PCI Standards to help secure payment card data worldwide,” said Bob Russo, GM, PCI Security Standards Council. “The Council and wider stakeholder community will benefit from the breadth of experiences and perspectives that this new board represents.”

The board says it will support the council’s mission to raise awareness and drive adoption of PCI Standards worldwide and will kick off its work in June with its first face-to-face meeting with council management.

“This year saw more European involvement than ever in the board of advisors election process. Although Europe contains mature EMV markets, this level of involvement in the PCI SSC confirms that the combination of PCI Standards and EMV chip is a powerful force for protecting payment card data,” said Jeremy King, European director, PCI Security Standards Council. “Our new board is a truly global group, and the council will benefit greatly from its input as we continue to drive awareness and adoption of PCI Standards worldwide.”

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Staples gets into home décor

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples is not necessarily a name synonymous with home décor and specifically wall art, but the office products company is looking to change that with the launch of its Sports & Art Photo Gallery.

Customers in Staples stores will be able to look through the digital library’s licensed professional photographs — featuring photographs from the NFL and NBA as well as landscapes and fine art — and select, purchase and print whichever they want. They can also use Staples Copy and Print for same-day pickup of any photo.

“Our customers asked for affordable, high-end sports photos and art prints, and we delivered with the new Staples Sports and Art Photo Gallery which makes office and home décor easy,” said Alison Corcoran, SVP of stores and online marketing. “Sports fans can select their favorite teams and players and personalize select NFL photography while art lovers can choose from a selection of fine art, landscapes, cityscapes, nature and animal prints to bring out the ‘inner designer’ in everyone.”

Staples has also partnered with the host of HGTV’s “Color Splash,” David Bromstad, to offer customers design tips and show them how they can use the Sports and Art Photo Gallery to decorate their homes or offices.

“Staples’ new photo assortment addresses the common desire for affordable design photography that stands out and makes a strong and personalized style impression,” said Bromstad. “Design lovers on a budget can decorate any environment or give a personalized gift with amazing gallery-worthy photography.”

Some of Bromstad’s design tips for using photos as décor include clustering prints in mass to create your own custom wallpaper and using Staples prints to create personalized lampshades.

Staples will also feature a new line of wall art, as well as a new line of furniture on Staples.com.

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