FINANCE

NRF opposes swipe fee settlement

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) is formally opposing the proposed settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit brought by 19 trade associations and six retailers in 2005. The lawsuit involves “swipe fees” charged for credit card transactions by Visa and Mastercard. Retailers that agree to settlement terms are eligible for a share of a $7.25 billion settlement.

However, the NRF says the proposed settlement does not introduce transparency into the swipe fee process or reform what the NRF terms swipe fee “price fixing,” and also creates a new surcharge for consumers. Retailers who do not opt out of the settlement by May 28 will be assumed to have accepted it.

“The proposed settlement does nothing to bring swipe fees under control and would give Visa and MasterCard a legal blessing to continue their abuse of merchants and consumers indefinitely,” NRF senior VP and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “No settlement at all would be better than this one-sided ‘agreement’ written by the card companies for the card companies that would tie retailers’ hands for decades to come.”

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Tommy Bahama adopts SaaS IT model

BY Staff Writer

San Diego – Tommy Bahama is employing the IT Service Automation Application Suite from cloud-based IT services provider ServiceNow to automate IT functions such as incident management, change management, problem management, configuration management database and service catalog. The specialty apparel brand is also using the SaaS-based Orchestrate solution from ServiceNow to streamline the hiring and training process.

“We selected ServiceNow to help us evolve the way we deliver IT services,” said Stewart Hubbard, vice president of IT for Tommy Bahama. “ServiceNow’s modern approach to IT service automation will allow us to provide higher levels of customer service across our corporate, retail and restaurant users.”

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AutoZone has ‘solid’ Q3

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — AutoZone reported net sales of $2.2 billion for the 12-week third quarter period ended May 4, an increase of 4.5% from $2.1 billion for the same period last year. Domestic same-store sales decreased 0.1% for the quarter.

Net income for the quarter was $266 million, an increase of 6.8% from $249 for the same period last year. Meanwhile, gross profit was 51.8%, versus 51.6% for last year’s quarter. The increase in gross margin was primarily driven by lower acquisition costs, partially offset by the inclusion of AutoAnything, an online retailer of specialized automotive products.

"Our organization executed our game plan and delivered another quarter of solid performance,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO. “While sales results for the quarter finished below our expectations, we were pleased to see noticeable improvements in our performance during the final four weeks of the quarter, specifically in our more recently challenged Northeastern and Midwestern markets."

Rhodes believes the company’s ongoing efforts to improve its inventory assortment and accelerate its deployment will have meaningful impacts on results for upcoming quarters.

During the quarter, AutoZone opened 33 new stores, relocated three stores and closed one store in the U.S. and opened seven new stores in Mexico. As of May 4, the company had 4,767 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S., 341 stores in Mexico and one store in Brazil for a total store count of 5,109.

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