OPERATIONS

NRF: Retailers committed to protecting consumer data

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation told a congressional panel on April 16 that the retail industry is committed to safeguarding and protecting consumer data and information from cybercriminals and hackers. Tom Litchford, NRF VP for retail technologies, testified before a field hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, where he outlined specific steps that the nation’s retailers are pursuing and implementing to identify, prevent and combat cyber attacks.

He described NRF’s support for immediately transitioning away from fraud-prone credit cards that utilize 1960s technology (magnetic-stripe and signature) to more advanced and secure cards that incorporate a Personal Identification Number or PIN, or Chip and PIN cards that include a computer microchip.

PIN-based cards, along with data encryption and tokenization, would help prevent cybercriminals from monetizing consumer financial information and provide better fraud protection for retailers, banks and consumers than proprietary Europay, MasterCard and Visa or EMV technology that does not require the use of a PIN.

“Retailers make significant investments every year in order to protect [consumer] data,” said Litchford. “Collectively, retailers spend billions of dollars annually to safeguard data and fight fraud, as well as hundreds of millions annually on [credit card security] compliance. Chip and PIN technology dramatically reduces the value of any stolen ‘breached’ data for in-store purchases because the payment card data is essentially rendered worthless to criminals. The failure of U.S. card networks and banks to adopt such a system in the United States is one reason why cyber attacks on brick-and-mortar retailers have increased.”

Litchford went on to state that the nation’s retailers are pursuing the establishment of a Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or Retail ISAC, that would provide retailers and merchants (NRF members and non-members) with actionable and timely threat intelligence to help identify and mitigate cyber risks.

NRF called on Congress to support the retail industry’s efforts on data security and cybersecurity by passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA, which would further encourage businesses and retailers to share information across sectors on cyber threats in real time.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks to move Europe headquarters to London

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Starbucks Corp. plans to move its European headquarters to London, from its current base in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The move will both concentrate some executives in the U.K., including some transferred from the Amsterdam office, and also increase the tax Starbucks pays in the U.K.

Starbucks paid an estimated $16.8 million in U.K. taxes during 2013 and has said it expects to pay the same amount in 2014. The company has received criticism in the U.K. for allegedly using complex accounting procedures to minimize the tax it pays there.

The U.K. is Starbucks’ fastest-growing market in Europe, and managing operations there more closely is one reason the company plans to move its headquarters. Starbucks expects to open more than 100 new stores in the U.K. during 2014, and moving its headquarters should create 1,000 new jobs in addition to the 7,500 U.K. workers Starbucks currently employs.

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PriceGrabber, StellaService partner to offer customer service data

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – PriceGrabber and StellaService are launching a partnership where PriceGrabber will display StellaService’s online retailer ratings and customer service performance data on PriceGrabber.com. In addition, PriceGrabber will act as a distribution partner for StellaService to its network of digital publishers.

StellaService is an independent provider of customer service performance ratings and analytics for online retailers. Starting April 16, when consumers search for a product on PriceGrabber, the retailer’s customer service rating will appear alongside the list of prices in search results. StellaService’s ratings and customer service performance data is also available to PriceGrabber publisher sites via subscription.

As part of the partnership, the StellaService Seal of quality customer service will be added to product, search, and merchant information pages within PriceGrabber. StellaService data will be displayed to provide consumers with detailed information about the following metrics across retailers: average time to reach a live agent over the phone, average email response time, average number of days to delivery, percentage of products delivered on time, number of days for their return policy, and number of days to issue a refund.

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