POS/PAYMENTS

NRF wants free speech for merchants on credit card fees

BY Marianne Wilson

The National Retail Federation on Tuesday called on the U.S. Supreme Court to allow merchants to freely and accurately show customers the added costs that come with paying by credit card rather than cash.

“Retailers have no interest in surcharging their customers for using credit cards,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “That would be the opposite of our goal to bring credit card swipe fees under control. But merchants do want to be able to show customers the cost of using a credit card without running afoul of the law.”

The case isn’t about surcharging, Duncan added. Instead, it’s about “giving retailers freedom of speech when they try to give their customers a break for paying by cash.”

“Some states allow cash discounts but prohibit credit card surcharges,” he explained. “A gas station owner shouldn’t be hauled into court for saying gas is $2.90 a gallon cash and $3 credit rather than saying $3 credit and $2.90 cash.”

Justices heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging laws in 10 states that prohibit merchants from imposing a surcharge when customers use a credit card. The laws, which were passed at the urging of the card industry, can be traps for merchants who give a cash discount, NRF said. The lawsuit before the court argues that the laws violate merchants’ free speech rights under the First Amendment and are unconstitutionally vague under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Regional sporting goods retailer expanding in the West

BY Marianne Wilson

Sportsman’s Warehouse is building out its retail portfolio in familiar territory.

The Utah-based retailer announced three new locations: Everett, Washington; Pueblo, Colorado; and Visalia, California. The new stores are expected to open in the second half of 2017.

The location in Everett will be the tenth Sportsman’s Warehouse store in the state of Washington and will be located in the Greentree Plaza.

Sportsman’s Warehouse will construct the Visalia, California location in the Grove at Packwood Creek shopping center and will be its eighth location in the state of California. The Pueblo, Colorado store will be the sixth Sportsman’s Warehouse location in the state of Colorado and will be constructed as a smaller format store.

With these planned openings combined with their previous announced 2017 store openings, Sportsman’s Warehouse will operate 85 stores in 22 states.

These stores will feature an extensive selection of hunting, fishing and camping gear, as well as a wide range of apparel and footwear. As with all Sportsman’s Warehouse locations, the store will also feature instruction, seminars and special events related to outdoor activities.

“We are excited to further expand our presence in states we know very well,” stated John Schaefer, Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO “These new markets have a large user base that is currently under served through existing retailers. The additions of these stores keep with our business plan, promoting stable growth that will benefit our company, our vendors, and most importantly, our loyal customers for many years to come.”

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BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/ANALYTICS

Canadian grocer ups the ante on analytics

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Eager to take advantage of an increasing amount of customer-specific big data, Sobeys is adding a new analytics platform.

The Canadian grocer has entered into a long-term strategic relationship with IRI, a move that will enable Sobeys to unify all data in a centralized location. By leveraging the IRI Liquid Data technology and its Unify visualization platform, the grocer’s eight retail food formats will be able to integrate and report on transaction, loyalty card, promotional and other data sources.

Sobeys’ supplier partners also will have web-based access to intuitive, flexible and fast insights in the new Sobeys Collaborative Gateway, a conduit specifically designed to drive actions and alerts in to key collaborative business processes.

Through the agreement, IRI’s regionally-based client service teams will support suppliers’ data and insight analyses, along with Sobeys’ use of advanced price and promotion analytics, allowing business partners to further enhancing marketing and merchandising activities.

Sobeys expects the technology, advanced analytics, and training, “to enhance our position as our shoppers’ preferred retailer,” said Ray Hepworth, VP of the Centre of Excellence, category management optimization for Sobeys.

Sobeys operates approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Price Chopper, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons Drugs.

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