FINANCE

NRF spends $740,000 on lobbying in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The National Retail Federation retail trade group spent $740,000 in the first quarter lobbying federal officials on a variety of issues, from apparel tariffs to consumer product safety.

That was much more than the $440,000 it spent in 2009’s first quarter and the $460,000 it spent in fourth quarter 2009.

Among the highest profile issues the group watched was the Credit CARD act, meant to give credit-card users more information and limit policies that consumer rights groups consider abusive.

The trade group, whose members include J.C. Penney, Best Buy Co. and Macy’s, also lobbied the federal government on legislation involving the safety of imported seafood, health care and immigration, according to a report filed April 20 with the House clerk’s office.

The bulk of the law — which focuses on “credit card accountability, responsibility and disclosure” — took effect in February.

During January through March, the trade group lobbied Congress; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Departments of Commerce; Transportation; Homeland Security; Treasury and State; the U.S. International Trade Commission; and other agencies, according to the report.

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International is 4th growth priority

BY CSA STAFF

Target will operate stores internationally — some day — but for the time being the company contends it has such ample opportunities domestically that its growth efforts remain focused on American soil for at least the next three years. According to president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, the company’s top priority is transforming its existing store base to the P-Fresh format, which features fresh food and other category upgrades. In addition, the company intends to continuing opening new U.S. stores in trade areas that make sense for the company’s existing formats. A third priority is to develop a smaller prototype that enables the company to take advantage of more urban opportunities that have great demographics. “We’re looking at downsizing Target to fit the environment where there are guests that have lots of money and love Target, so we’re focused on that as our third priority and then international would come well beyond that,” Steinhafel said.

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Using ketchup to capture sales

BY CSA STAFF

Combine tomatoes, vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup and salt and what do you get? Ketchup, of course, but also the makings of an early-summer pricing battle involving a staple of summer cookouts. Target featured a 40-ounce squeeze bottle of Heinz brand ketchup in its circular this week for $1.59. That’s quite an aggressive price and would have been a good deal for shoppers except for the fact that Walmart decided it needed to reassert its pricing image and would use the Heinz brand to do so. As a result, Walmart marked down the 40-ounce Heinz to just $1 from its regular price of $2.42, as part of its price rollback campaign touted in promotional materials as involving, “thousands of rollbacks throughout the store.” Fortunately for margins at Target, as well as Walmart, most of the items featured in the rollback program are not subject to such extreme reductions.

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