FINANCE

NRF supports Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) is supporting the Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act. The legislation was introduced by Senators Michael Enzi, Richard Durbin, Lamar Alexander, Heidi Heitkamp, Susan Collins and Mark Pryor.

The bipartisan bill combines two legislative issues – the Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act. It would limit the ability of state and local governments to impose Internet access taxes for 10 years, while giving states the ability to enforce their sales tax laws on businesses selling to consumers located within their borders

“The National Retail Federation applauds the introduction of this bipartisan piece of legislation that seeks to level the playing field between local, brick-and-mortar merchants and online retailers without creating or raising taxes,” said David French, senior VP for government relations, NRF. “We appreciate the leadership of the bill’s sponsors and thank them for renewing their commitment to sales tax fairness. The retail industry has rapidly evolved over the last two decades with e-commerce and mobile commerce, and it is time for Congress to eliminate the sales tax disparity, which disproportionally impacts community and independent retailers.”

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FINANCE

Licensing mogul purchases Hastings Entertainment

BY Dan Berthiaume

Amarillo, Texas – Parent, a company owned by New Jersey-based licensing and memorabilia mogul Joel Weinshanker, has purchased multimedia entertainment retailer Hastings Entertainment for $21.4 million. The publicly traded Hastings will go private and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent.

Hastings shareholders, who will receive $3 cash per share in the deal, approved a merger initially entered into on March 17, 2014. Hastings CEO John Marmaduke will depart the company and receive a $1.5 million one-time payment. Weinshanker owns National Entertainment Collectibles Association and owns the licensing and merchandising rights to celebrities including Elvis Presley. There are currently two federal lawsuits challenging the merger on grounds the price per share is too low.

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OPERATIONS

Savings.com launches Amazon price comparison tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

Santa Monica, Calif. – Savings website Savings.com has launched PriceJUmp, an online tool that instantly compares Amazon product prices to prices around the Web. Users copy the URL of the product page they are viewing on Amazon and paste it into the PriceJump website search box.

PriceJump then searches thousands of sites to find better prices. In addition, the Savings.com PriceJump browser extension for Chrome (Firefox and Safari extensions are expected soon) provides the same PriceJump pricing information in the upper right hand corner of the user’s browser window while shopping on Amazon. When the user is not on Amazon, they won’t see any price information.

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