News

NRF pleased with White House efforts to promote free trade

BY CSA STAFF

Washington –The National Retail Federation announced that it is pleased with President Obama’s efforts to implement three pending Free Trade Agreements.

“These trade pacts will help break the logjam on job creation, and we applaud the White House for moving them forward,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Trade with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will make it easier for U.S. companies to export their goods and services overseas, and that means jobs for American workers. Congress should move to break down trade barriers that are holding back our economy by approving these agreements as quickly as possible. Expansion of international trade is one of the keys to our nation’s recovery.”

Obama said Monday he would have an announcement on the trade agreements “in the next day or so,” and news reports said the agreements could be sent to Congress as soon as yesterday afternoon.

According to NRF, Free and open international trade is crucial to U.S. retailers’ ability to provide American families with the products they need and want at prices they can afford. To help expand the U.S. retail industry’s global trade relationships, Shay is scheduled to travel to China next week as part of a delegation of U.S. retailers who will participate in the Canton Fair in Guangzhou and work to deepen ties with Chinese counterparts.

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OPERATIONS

Claire’s Stores names head of European business

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago –Claire’s Stores, Inc. said Tuesday that it has named Beatrice Lafon President of the European Division, effective immediately.

In her position as President of Europe, Lafon will lead the continued growth and expansion of the European business, with direct oversight of buying, merchandising and allocation, supply chain, stores, and the overall operations for approximately 1,100 stores across 13 countries.

Lafon will report to Gene Kahn, CEO.

She has served in executive positions at TJ Hughes in the UK, Etam Group in the Netherlands, and Animal Ltd. in the UK, as well as held a variety of retail positions at Woolworths Group.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with Beatrice, in concert with the other members of the European and Global Senior Management Teams, as we continue to focus our efforts to reverse the recent negative performance in Europe and grow the European division to make Claire’s a dominant retailer of fashionable accessories and jewelry at affordable prices in each of our key markets for our targeted customer groups," said Kahn.

Lafon succeeds Kenny Wilson, who served in the position for more than two years.

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FINANCE

First Data and Associated Bank renew merchant services agreement

BY Staff Writer

Atlanta–First Data Corp. and Associated Bank said Tuesday that the companies have signed a long-term merchant services renewal agreement.

Through the agreement, First Data will continue to provide merchant processing services to the bank’s business clients nationwide, providing them access to a comprehensive line of electronic payment solutions, including acceptance of all major credit cards including PIN and signature-based debit cards, gift cards, customized reporting and electronic check verification services.

The agreement continues a 30-year relationship between the two companies.

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