Interchange Lawsuit Watch
New York City, Ajudge in California has thrown out a lawsuit brought by small merchants in the state against Visa and MasterCard over interchange fees. The merchants had hoped to establish a class action and alleged that the card associations violated antitrust laws in setting the fees. Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed the claims and said the facts didn’t show price fixing.
“Judge White’s decision should send a strong message to class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers who have recently sought to bring similar actions against MasterCard and our members,” Noah Hanft, MasterCard’s general counsel, said in a statement. Lawyers for the merchants plan to appeal.
The case is independent of a similar lawsuit filed in July by Kroger and other major retailers against Visa.
Wal-Mart, Target Show Healthy Comps
New York City, Early indications of July sales appear to be less satisfying than June’s 5.3% surge. But there were plenty of positive numbers reported.
“Concerns about high gas prices were dismissed yet again as shoppers hit the stores to dig into very cool fashions for summer vacations and prepare for the early phases of back-to-school—with fall transitional fashions selling at full price that will help margins at some apparel retailers,” said Richard Hastings, VP and senior retail sector analyst for New York City-based Bernard Sands LLC.
Wal-Mart Stores reported 4.4% increase in comp-store sales.
Target Corp. comps increased 5.5% for the month.
Abercrombie & Fitch posted a comp-store sales increase of 22%.
American Eagle Outfitters posted a comps increase of 17.1%.
Gap Inc. reported flat comps for the month.
TJX Cos. posted a comp-store sales increase of 1% for the month.
Casual Corner Sold to Liquidator
New York City, The future of struggling women’s clothing chain Casual Corner was thrown into uncertainty this week, as privately held Retail Brand Alliance said it will sell all 550 of the stores to Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based retail liquidator. The move will allow Enfield, Conn.-based Retail Brand Alliance to focus on its Brooks Brothers brand. Claudio Del Vecchio, president and CEO of Retail Brand Alliance, has stated that Casual Corner rival New York & Co. expressed interest in acquiring about half of the Casual Corner locations, and is now negotiating with Gordon Brothers. Terms of the deal are not released. The Casual Corner Group was reportedly put up for sale last year with an asking price between $250 million and $300 million.