FINANCE

NRF: Retailers unlikely to surcharge for credit card use

BY Staff Writer

Washington — Despite some groups’ claims, the National Retail Federation said that few, if any, merchants are expected to surcharge customers for using a credit card as theoretically allowed under a controversial proposed lawsuit settlement with Visa and MasterCard being debated in the courts.


“The ridiculous concept that merchants will start surcharging on any widespread basis is propaganda being spread by the card industry in an attempt to divert attention from their skyrocketing swipe fees,” NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “The lawsuit sought to bring down swipe fees and the prices paid by consumers, not to increase prices. The card companies’ new surcharging proposal runs 180 degrees counter to the intent of the lawsuit.”

“While there conceivably could be exceptions, merchants in general have no intention of surcharging,” Duncan went on. “We have discussed the settlement with many of our members and other merchants, and not a single one has said they will surcharge.”

While the settlement would allow retailers to surcharge, a number of obstacles would prevent most merchants from actually doing so even if they wanted to:

Ten states representing 40% of all U.S. credit card transactions – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas – prohibit surcharges by law.

Visa and MasterCard require a retailer to have the same card acceptance policies in all its stores. It is therefore questionable whether national chains or regional chains with stores in the 10 states above would be able to surcharge in the 40 other states.

“National and regional chains don’t want to surcharge and probably couldn’t,” Duncan said. “Small retailers are too busy running their stores to jump through the hoops required by Visa and MasterCard and could not afford the expense. The bottom line is that very few retailers would be able to surcharge, and the vast majority don’t want to surcharge even if they could.”

The surcharge provision is part of a proposed settlement announced in July in a federal antitrust lawsuit brought by merchants against Visa and MasterCard’s swipe fees. Averaging about 2%, swipe fees are a percentage of the transaction taken by banks each time a consumer swipes a credit card to pay for a purchase, and total about $30 billion a year nationwide. The fees have tripled over the past decade, but the settlement failed to take steps to bring them under control. The majority of the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit have repudiated the settlement and have gone to court to block it from receiving final approval.

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STORE SPACES

Ikea goes live with South Florida’s largest solar energy system

BY Marianne Wilson

Sunrise, Fla. — Ikea on Wednesday officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in City of Sunrise, Fla. It is the largest solar installation in South Florida and, when combined with Ikea projects already completed atop stores in Orlando and Tampa, will make Ikea the state’s largest non-utility solar owner.

Ikea contracted with REC Solar for the development, design and installation of the Sunrise store’s customized solar power system. The 101,774-sq.-ft. PV array consists of a 1,057-kW system, built with 4,368 panels. Ikea Sunrise’s program will produce approximately 1,554,600 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,181 tons of carbon dioxide.

This installation represents the 35th completed solar project for Ikea in the U.S., with four more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of Ikea nearly 90% of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW.

Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. Consistent with the company’s goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 250,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.

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REAL ESTATE

Swire Properties, Bal Harbour Shops to co-develop Brickell City Centre retail

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Miami — Swire Properties and Bal Harbour Shops announced Wednesday they have agreed to an equity partnership to jointly develop the retail component of Brickell City Centre, currently under construction in the Brickell financial district of downtown Miami.

The 2.9 million-sq.-ft. Brickell City Centre will include 500,000 sq. ft. of high-end retail along with condominiums and hotel slated for completion in latter 2015.

Swire will remain the primary developer of the mixed-use project, while Bal Harbour will contribute equity and luxury retail expertise as co-developer of the retail component.

The $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre project broke ground in 2012. It will include a shopping center, two residential towers, a hotel, wellness center, serviced apartments, two office buildings, and 3,100 parking spaces. The project is being developed in two phases, with the first phase, including all elements except for one office tower, scheduled for completion in 2015, followed by the final office tower in 2018.

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D.Spencer says:
Mar-18-2013 11:28 am

As we are all gathering to
As we are all gathering to buy a birthday gift for our teacher and I was assign for doing this, I was thinking the shopping city center will offer me some suggestions in terms of personalized teacher gifts if I go out there and take a look through the stores. Any suggestions on this matter are so welcome.

D.Spencer says:
Mar-18-2013 11:28 am

As we are all gathering to buy a birthday gift for our teacher and I was assign for doing this, I was thinking the shopping city center will offer me some suggestions in terms of personalized teacher gifts if I go out there and take a look through the stores. Any suggestions on this matter are so welcome.

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