OPERATIONS

NRF: Retail employment drops 6,700 in February

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) calculated retail employment was down 6,700 in February 2014, yet up 205,500 year-over-year. The biggest job losses were seen in electronics and appliance stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

December and January retail employment figures were also revised downward. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary showed that February total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 with the unemployment rate at 6.7% and the labor force participation rate at 63%.

“Retailers continued to rearrange and maximize their payrolls and inventories following the holiday shopping season,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the NRF, said. “This decline should be temporary in nature and viewed as a speed bump. We really need to lift the snow screen to adequately measure the economy and jobs situation. We remain optimistic for continued economic and employment gains this year and are encouraged by the growth in construction jobs and building material employment last month, which suggests a forthcoming improvement in residential and nonresidential spending along with household and business confidence.”

The NRF also released a statement urging the federal government not to issue any mandates forcing retailers and small businesses to raise their minimum wage, which the NRF said could hamper economic growth and increase unemployment.

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News

Visa and MasterCard form payment system security group

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foster City, Calif. – Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. are teaming up to create a new group that will focus on improving payment system security. The group will include banks, credit unions, retailers and initially focus on adoption of EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa)-compliant card technology in the U.S. in advance of the October 2015 liability deadline.

The group will also study tokenization, or the replacement of customer account numbers with unique digital payment codes, and also cooperate with other industry groups.

“The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security,” said Ryan McInerney, president of Visa.

In response to the formation of this group, the National Retail Federation issued the following statement from senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan:

“We remain insistent that U.S. retailers’ customers be given the same protections as consumers in more than 80 countries who have both a chip and a PIN securing their credit and debit cards,” said Duncan. “There is no single solution to the complex issue of criminal hacking and we know PIN-and-chip is just a bridge on the long road to a safer payment system, but it is an important step in the right direction.

“We appreciate being involved in meetings with other stakeholders such as the one hosted by Visa and MasterCard last week. While we certainly agree that speed is of the essence, we don’t believe that is an obstacle to introducing PIN-and-chip cards since the technology is well established and the cards are widely used around the globe.”

“Easy-to-forge signatures are a virtually worthless form of authentication. Insisting on chip-and-signature cards is like installing an alarm on the front door of a home while leaving the back door wide open. It doesn’t make sense when the technology exists to secure the entire house.”

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Report: Abercrombie to rebrand Hollister as fast-fashion chain

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio – Abercrombie & Fitch is reportedly planning to rebrand its Hollister banner as a fast-fashion retailer. According to the Wall Street Journal, this would entail lowering the prices of merchandise and creating a nimbler, U.S.-based supply chain.

Fast-fashion retailers aim at providing the latest apparel styles favored by teens, requiring quick supply chain turnaround and teen-friendly pricing. Abercrombie executives told the Wall Street Journal the company is working with West Coast-based supply chain vendors to develop a faster supply chain and also are seeking anew Hollister president with fast fashion experience. Abercrombie also reportedly believes all of its retail banners could benefit from a faster supply chain.

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Mar-12-2014 09:46 am

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