OPERATIONS

NRF: Retail adds jobs in April

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation said that retail employment increased 28,000 in April 2014 from March 2014 and 241,000 year-over-year. March’s retail employment was revised upward by 2,700 jobs.

NRF said the increase reflects the growth and positive momentum seen in the retail industry in recent months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy as a whole added 288,000 jobs in April, reducing the unemployment rate from 6.7% to 6.3%.

"After a weak report on growth in the overall economy, the strong jobs report shows that the backlash from the weather-induced slowdown between December and March impacted economic activity but was not a foreboding sign of what is to come," said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of the NRF. “We expect a rebound in economic activity. While only select sectors such as apparel and general merchandise reported higher results, we expect retailers to be stocked and prepared for one of the busiest times of the year, summer."

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Shari’s Berries releases omni-channel shopping app

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Diego – Shari’s Berries, a national gifting brand that delivers strawberries and sweets, is launching Shari’s Berries App for iPhone and iPod touch. The Shari’s Berries App allows smartphone-based orders for delivery as early as the next day.

Designed by its subsidiary Sincerely, the Shari’s Berries App features a simplified shopping experience and quick checkouts. It also reminds users of birthdays and holidays based on an algorithm that incorporates data from their Facebook network and device contacts.

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White House calls for new standards on data breaches

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The White House on Thursday called on Congress to pass legislation to create a national standard that would alert consumers when their data has been hacked. It one-of-six policy recommendations that comes after a 90-day review of data and privacy.

"As organizations store more information about individuals, Americans have a right to know if that information has been stolen or otherwise improperly exposed," said the report, led by John Podesta, a top advisor to President Barack Obama.

The review sought to examine consumer privacy given the reams of data collected and stored on the internet, from phones, and from sensors and cameras.

"We live in a world of near-ubiquitous data collection where that data is being crunched at a speed increasingly approaching real-time," the report said.

The White House said the Commerce Department is going start work on drafting a bill that would codify a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" the White House drafted in 2012.

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