ICSC stands in support of new federal online sales tax bill
Washington, D.C. — The International Council of Shopping Centers released a statement that it is in support of the Marketplace Equity Act, which was introduced to Congress on Wednesday.
Currently, Internet retailers are required only to collect sales taxes in states where they have a physical presence, whether store, office, warehouse or DC. If enacted, the MEA would empower states to collect sales taxes already owed at the point of purchase from online retailers who may not have a physical nexus in the state, but sell millions of dollars in merchandise there.
“Closing the online sales tax loophole is not a partisan issue, but rather an issue of fairness,” said David B. Henry, ICSC chairman. “Each day, brick-and mortar retailers operate at a competitive disadvantage to remote sellers who don’t collect sales tax. The loophole was created by a 1992 Supreme Court decision at a time when the Internet was a mere shadow of what it is today. The MEA is a necessary step toward establishing a new, 21st century marketplace that considers both brick-and-mortar and online retailers, while protecting consumers who use and benefit from both.”
In a key component of the MEA, small businesses will be exempt from collecting sales taxes on internet transactions. As it stands now, most states already have what is known as a “use tax,” similar to a sales tax. When an online retailer fails to collect the sales tax, it falls to the consumer to report that tax directly to the state, which is often not done. This practice has given rise to the misperception of tax-free shopping online, and efforts to close the loophole are often mistaken for a new tax. The MEA is not a new tax; it simply gives states the power to collect revenue they are already owned at the point of purchase.
Uniqlo parent reports full-year profit drop
Tokyo — Fast Retailing Co., parent to the Uniqlo chain of stores, reported Wednesday that profit for the full year fell 12% to $709.2 million. The company blamed the performance decline on bad weather, but said it will accelerate store openings overseas, which will compensate for the decline.
On Friday, Fast Retailing will open it largest store to date – on New York City’s 34th Street at Fifth Avenue. Earlier, in September, the company unveiled plans to open 200 to 300 stores per year to make it the world’s biggest apparel retailer. It will launch a joint venture with SM Retail to operate its Uniqlo chain in the Philippines.
Same-store sales for the fiscal year dipped 6%, and revenue edged up 0.7%.
Ann Taylor parent to launch women’s initiative
New York City — Ann Inc., parent to Ann Taylor and Loft brands, announced Wednesday it will launch a four-year investment in young women’s leadership.
According to ANN president and CEO, Kay Krill, who joined with women’s leadership organization Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson, the pair will launch ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. Ann Inc. has committed $1.3 million to the program, which will connect and inspire a network of high school junior and senior students across the United States. Selected applicants will receive leadership training and grants to develop projects to advance women and girls in their communities and around the world.
As part of the launch, 10 young women were selected to receive ANNpower Grant Awards.
"We are a company by women for women and connecting with the next generation of leaders is personal for us,” said Krill.
In 2012, the inaugural ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum will convene in Washington, D.C. The 10 grantees and an additional 40 rising high school junior and senior girls from across the United States will participate in a week-long leadership training and mentorship experience with the established women leaders of the Vital Voices Global Network of human rights defenders, civil society advocates, and social and economic entrepreneurs.