News

ECRM adds chief content officer

BY CSA STAFF

Retail trade event organizer Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) name media veteran Joseph Tarnowski to the newly created position of chief content officer.

Tarnowski will lead the development of ECRM’s content platform to deliver actionable information and insights to retail buyers and suppliers such as original research and insights from ECRM Data, the company’s business intelligence division.

“Joe’s business media background is perfectly aligned with ECRM’s vision of adding a content component to the existing events and digital platform we’ve developed to facilitate the buying process,” said Greg Farrar, CEO of ECRM. “His knowledge of the retail industry and experience in developing unique and compelling content across media platforms will extend our engagement with retail buyers and suppliers year-round.”

Tarnowski was most recently with Deerfield, Ill.-based Stagnito Business Information, where he helped launch and was editor in chief of Progressive Grocer Independent, as well as editor of Progressive Grocer Tech. He also co-created Stagnito’s Connected Consumer Summit, an event focused on digital marketing and analytics for retail and CPG brands.

“ECRM has a wealth of information assets, including the expertise of its staff and its buyer and supplier audience, and its research and data capabilities,” said Tarnowski. “On top of this, it has amazing digital and event platforms with which to deliver this information. I’m excited to join the team and its mission to deliver this valuable content to the industry.”

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OPERATIONS

Barneys settles racial profiling case

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Barneys New York has settled its profiling and racial discrimination case, agreeing to pay $525,000 and implement measures to address potential future profiling chances.

The retailer’s Madison Avenue store has been under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office for the past nine months.

“Profiling and racial discrimination remain a problem in our state, but not one we are willing to accept,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “This agreement will continue our work to ensure there’s one set of rules for everyone in public accommodations, including customers in New York’s retail establishments.”

The investigation began after two African American shoppers sued the store and the city, following a shopping trip to Barneys and a subsequent stop by police. In April 2013, Trayon Christian, then an 18-year-old college student, bought a $350 Ferragamo belt with his debit card and left the store. Two undercover police officers requested to see receipts and allegedly told Christian “that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.”

After Christian’s encounter became public, Kayla Phillips said she, too, had been profiled under similar circumstances.

The attorney general found that Barneys maintained inadequate records of stops made by their loss-prevention employees, but despite these lapses, existing records showed a disproportionate number of African American and Latino customers were detained for alleged shoplifting or credit card fraud.

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FINANCE

MasterCard report: U.S. retail sales up 4.6% in July

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — The latest SpendingPulse report from MasterCard showed that U.S. retail sales rose 4.6% year-over-year in July, the largest year-over-year gain since October 2012.

Lodging, Airlines and Restaurants were among the top categories for U.S. retail sales last month, while Automotive, Grocery and Luxury items (excluding Jewelry) were less sought after by consumers.

“By and large, the U.S. economy has shown signs of positive growth over the last few months, especially as weather in most of the country improved,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior VP, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “Positive economic statistics such as new job hiring are giving consumers more confidence that the recovery is a reality. This confidence is seen in people taking vacations and dining out. They’re choosing to truly ‘experience’ the rebound.”

The rebound trend has not, however, benefitted the Apparel or Department Store categories, which showed very modest growth. Despite heavy promotions and discounting for back-to-school, their sales will likely be fairly muted as parents hold off on shopping for new clothes until the weather turns colder, according to MasterCard.

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