FINANCE

Massachusetts Oks sales tax holiday Aug. 10-11

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill authorizing a sales tax holiday in Massachusetts for the upcoming weekend of Aug. 10. The bill gives consumers a one-time break on the state’s 6.25% sales tax on any ordinarily taxed retail items individually worth up to $2,500. The break does not extend to vehicles, motor boats, tobacco, meals and utilities.

Massachusetts did not offer a sales tax holiday in 2009 but otherwise has designated one weekend in August as a sales tax holiday every year since 2004.

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FINANCE

Office Depot files SEC presentation supporting board nominees

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot has filed a presentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which the retailer says demonstrates the importance of shareholders electing its board’s nominees at the company’s annual meeting on Aug. 21. In the presentation, Office Depot claimed that the election of the board’s nominees will ensure their continued oversight of the company’s progress on its multi-year strategic plan to improve operations at Office Depot and achieve the substantial synergies and value creation opportunities of the OfficeMax and Office Depot de Mexico transactions.

The presentation also refutes claims by shareholder Starboard Ventures LLP that its alternate plan for the impending OfficeMax merger and slate of shareholder nominees will provide better value and profitability for investors.

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OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney names Kraft exec as senior VP marketing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – J.C. Penney has named Debra Berman as senior VP marketing. Berman previously served as VP marketing strategy and engagement at Kraft Foods Group since 2009.

"Debra Berman is an enormously talented marketing executive, and her desire to join the J.C. Penney team is a testament to our brand and its potential," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, CEO for Penney. "Her broad experience and success as a marketing strategist for major consumer brands make her the ideal leader to help us continue to reconnect with our core customer through effective promotions and campaigns that will increase excitement and loyalty now and over the long term."

Berman will report directly to Ullman and serve on the Penney board. Prior to joining Kraft, Berman spent nearly five years as strategic planning director at DDB Advertising, and before that held senior strategy planning roles at Sterling Brands, Young & Rubicam and Swander Pace and Company.

"There is huge opportunity to remind America’s families why it is so great to shop at J.C. Penney while attracting new customers to the brand,” said Berman. “This can be achieved through targeted campaigns that creatively highlight our unique and authentic combination of style, quality and value. I am eager to begin working with Mike and the entire team to restore J.C. Penney’s place as an iconic destination for customers for important occasions and all the times in between.”

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