SUPPLY CHAIN

NRF urges expedited contract for West Coast ports

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation is urging maritime management and the union representing dockworkers along the U.S. West Coast ports to expedite pending contract negotiations and reach agreement on a new deal well in advance of the expiration of the current contract this summer. NRF believes expedited negotiations would strengthen the supply chain and provide shippers and retailers the certainty they need to utilize the West Coast ports during the holiday shipping period, which begins in July.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay has asked for immediate contract negotiations in a letter to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association (ILWU), who currently plan to start negotiations in mid-May. The pending contract covers nearly 14,000 ILWU jobs at 29 containerized ports along the California, Oregon and Washington coastline.

NRF data shows that a majority of imported retail goods are shipped through West Coast terminals and gates. According to NRF’s Global Port Tracker report, major West Coast ports handled 11.2 million cargo containers in 2013, or 69% of the total at U.S. retail container ports followed by the report. Given the importance of the West Coast ports, the NRF says retailers have already begun to develop alternative plans to ensure the proper flow of holiday merchandise.

“We urge you to begin contract negotiations now and to attempt to reach agreement on a new contract before the June 30 expiration,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “These negotiations are important to all of the import and export and related industries who rely on these ports to move the nation’s commerce.”

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NRF to launch information-sharing platform

BY CSA STAFF

The National Retail Federation is moving forward with the creation of a program that will provide retailers access to information on cybersecurity threats identified by retailers, government and law enforcement agencies and partners in the financial services sector.

The program, developed in consultation with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), will launch with the establishment of an information-sharing platform for retail industry information security specialists, and plans call for a retail ISAC to be established in June.

“We believe a heightened and well-coordinated information sharing platform such as a retail ISAC is a vital component for helping retailers in their fight against cyber attacks,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Establishing a new program takes time, but time is not our friend when it comes to stopping these sophisticated and unpredictable criminals. The willingness of the FS-ISAC to work with retailers provides our industry with a new and important tool as we explore all of the options available for merchants to protect their customers and their businesses.”

Senator Mark Warner weighed in on the announcement, adding that establishing a Retail and Merchant ISAC will allow the industry to better share information that could help prevent the types of widespread consumer data thefts we now are seeing.

“I am pleased to see FS-ISAC collaborating with retailers to establish a tool for real-time sharing of information and best practices around the serious and growing threat of hacking, cyber and identity theft,” added Warner.

In early February of this year, Senators Warner and Mark Kirk (R-IL) called for the establishment of a Retail and Merchant Industry ISAC in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

“As an industry, it is critically important that we continue to work together and identify problems while providing solutions that prevent criminal hacking and the resulting data breaches,” said Cy Fenton, SVP, information technology (CIO) at Books-A-Million. “The safety and security of our customers unites retailers large and small, and information sharing is one of several important steps we are taking in order to achieve this mission critical goal.”

Fenton is chairman of the IT Security Council, a sub-committee of the NRF CIO Council, composed of CIOs and other technology experts from more than 120 leading retailers and industry partners. The group has been meeting regularly to discuss existing cybersecurity programs as well as exploring new opportunities for retailers.

“In partnership with key stakeholders, NRF is committed to finding broad-based, long-term solutions to ensure that consumers’ sensitive information remains secure. It is a retailer’s top priority,” Shay said. “Implementing robust security solutions with innovative technologies and information sharing to protect consumer data and the integrity of our payment systems is a start, but we will always need to stay one step ahead of these determined criminals.”

Recently, representatives from NRF held in-depth discussions with the United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies for insight and guidance on how to improve communication, identify available resources and collaborate more effectively to help retailers combat criminal cyber activity.

NRF has also retained the services of Kim Peretti, a partner in the law offices of Alston and Bird, LLC. Peretti is part of the firm’s White Collar Crime Group and co-chairs the Security Incident Management and Response Team. She is also a former director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ cyber forensic investigation unit and a former senior litigator for the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

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HSN recognizes cloud marketing company with award

BY CSA STAFF

HSN recognized the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud from salesforce.com (CRM) as its “Strategic Digital Alliance” partner for the year for transforming the company’s digital marketing program. The company was honored at HSN’s 4th annual awards gala in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“We have a bold vision for marketing at HSN that is built around creating highly relevant and personalized customer experiences,” said Bill Brand, chief marketing officer and business development officer for HSN. “The strategic partnership with ExactTarget Marketing Cloud helps us deliver innovative customer-centric digital marketing programs that have impact.”

HSN awards its Strategic Digital Alliance award to one company annually that delivers innovative business ideas and strategies with the HSN Digital Team. The accolade follows HSN reengineering its digital customer experience with the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to deliver a data-driven program that includes email, Mobile SMS and Push messaging.

“Brands are redefining marketing and unlocking incredible new opportunities to optimize the customer journey,” said Scott Dorsey, CEO, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “We are honored to partner with HSN and are proud to deliver the technology and strategic services that connect HSN with their customers in entirely new ways.”

The accolade from HSN follows the launch of the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s joint research report with Deloitte, Bridging the Digital Divide: How CMOs Can Rise to Meet Five Expanding Expectations. Based on a survey of 228 global marketing leaders, the study found more than half of global marketing leaders believe they have greater responsibility today for revenue growth and 61% rated data acquisition as a top priority. To download a complimentary copy of the study, click here.

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