OPERATIONS

Neiman Marcus combining online and store leadership teams

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Neiman Marcus Group is reorganizing its leadership structure by merging its stores and online management structure into one team as it looks to expand its presence across all channels. The change will take effect April 14.

“Over the years the way our customers shop our stores and websites has changed, and will continue to change with the increasing popularity and convenience of smart phones and tablets,” Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz said in a statement. “Our customers do not differentiate between channels and now neither will we. These changes allow us to operate as one, single, Neiman Marcus brand.”

Under the changes, Jim Gold, currently president of specialty retail of Neiman Marcus, has been named president of The Neiman Marcus Group and chief merchandising officer. He will be charged with an integrated merchant and planning team for Neiman Marcus stores and online.

John Koryl, currently president of Neiman Marcus Direct, also moves into a bigger role, and will serve as president of Neiman Marcus stores and online. Gold and Koryl will both continue to report to Katz.

As part of this reorganization, the divisional merchandise manager positions over various categories will be responsible for both store and online merchandise.

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NRF opposes minimum wage hike

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation (NRF) has publicly called Senate legislation aimed at increasing the federal minimum wage by 40% an anti-job tax that would lead to higher labor costs for employers and fewer opportunities for young and entry-level workers. NRF will include votes on the minimum wage as “Key Retail Votes” in its annual voting scorecard used to measure legislative support for the retail industry’s public policy priorities.

NRF says it believes that this is the “least opportune moment” to mandate a federal wage increase on employers with small and large businesses alike already confronting the myriad workforce challenges associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. NRF has urged Congress to focus on advancing long-term economic policies that would provide employers with the certainty they need to make strategic investment decisions and improve hiring opportunities for all workers.

“Raising the standard of living for low-skill, low-wage workers is a valid goal,” NRF senior VP for government relations David French said in a letter to the entire Senate. “But there is clear evidence that mandated wage hikes undermine the job prospects for less skilled and part-time workers. Policymakers have other tools, such as increasing the earned income tax credit, fixing the tax code, education improvements, immigration reform, transportation funding, and strong trade alliances that will aid in achieving that goal without creating more unemployment. Finding more opportunities for those trying to start out is a better economic approach than restricting the amount of jobs for those seeking employment.”

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Starbucks releases 13th Global Responsibility Report

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks on Wednesday released its 13th Global Responsibility Report, which highlights the company’s progress on long-term goals for community engagement, sustainability and ethical sourcing. The coffee giant also announced the launch of its fourth annual Global Month of Service, with Starbucks employees, customers and community members once again coming together to help contribute more than one million community service hours per year by 2015.

Starbucks will collaborate with more than ten organizations for Global Month of Service projects including Alaska Airlines, King Soopers, Deloitte, and Fidelity Investments. This year, Starbucks will also collaborate with global clothing retailer Uniqlo to co-host community service projects in five cities around the world.

Highlights of Starbuck’s Global Responsibility Report include its commitment to the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) program. Since opening its first LEED certified store in Hillsboro, Ore., in 2005, Starbucks has expanded its LEED store program to 18 countries in 2013, and is now in more regions than any other global retailer.

In other report highlights, Starbucks notes that it ethically sourced 95% of all coffee through C.A.F.E. Practices, fair-trade, or another externally audited system, moving closer to its goal of ethically sourcing 100% of all coffee by 2015.

“As 2015 comes into view, we recognize this is not the end of our commitments but just the beginning of how we take the lessons we have learned and apply them to our future direction,” said John Kelly, senior VP, global responsibility and public policy. “Everything we have done helps to inform our ongoing responsibility to the communities we serve and to do so in a way that brings others along on this journey with us.”

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