FINANCE

NRF welcomes Senate approval of debit-card reform

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. The National Retail Federation announced that it welcomed Senate approval of an amendment to financial services reform legislation that would direct the Federal Reserve to determine “reasonable and proportional” transaction fees for debit cards.

“Main Street America bailed out the biggest banks in this country not so long ago,” said Mallory Duncan, VP and general counsel for NRF. “Passage of the Durbin amendment ensures that those same banks won’t repay our generosity by undermining the fairness and integrity of the checking and debit-card system.”

The Senate voted 64-33 Thursday to approve an amendment to S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, offered by Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill. NRF counted consideration of the amendment as a key vote to be included in NRF’s annual ranking of lawmakers on issues important to the retail industry.

The amendment would require the Federal Reserve to establish “reasonable and proportional” interchange fees for debit transactions. The fees would have to take into consideration both the actual cost of processing the transactions and the fact that paper checks are paid at face value.

The fee for debit cards currently averages about 1% and is charged to merchants each time a card is swiped to pay for a purchase. NRF estimates that the fees cost merchants at least $10 billion a year, and card-industry practices effectively require that they be built into the price of merchandise, driving up costs for consumers.

The amendment would exempt an estimated 99% of credit unions and banks by applying only to financial institutions with $10 billion or more in assets. But most consumers would still be protected because the majority of cards are issued by a handful of the nation’s largest banks, according to NRF.

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Sam’s Club named official supplier of the Kansas City Barbeque Society

BY CSA STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Sam’s Club has been named the official supplier of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world’s largest barbeque organization, KCBS announced.

“We are very excited to be working with Sam’s Club and integrating them like never before into the world of competition barbeque,” said Carolyn Wells, executive director of KCBS. “Sam’s Club has long been a preferred choice of barbeque teams throughout our network, but this new relationship will bring additional benefits to the entire industry as we team up to promote ‘America’s Cuisine’ and help educate grillers nationwide on barbeque tips, techniques and food safety.”

 

As part of the agreement, Sam’s Club will become a presenting sponsor at half a dozen of the barbeque industry’s major events, including the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ in Lynchburg, Tenn. Additionally, Sam’s Club will provide prizes throughout the season and for the prestigious KCBS Team of the Year competition series in 2010.

 

“Teaming up with KCBS is the perfect complement to our industry-leading meat and fresh departments and will give us an opportunity to show our support while helping the competitors save on their competition needs,” said Robert Fields, senior director of meat and deli for Sam’s Club. “We are very excited about the season and to work with the teams, vendors and restaurant owners as well as budding enthusiasts and long-time fans.”

 

KCBS and Sam’s announced that they will soon launch a “Club Competition and Expo” that will be held in the parking lots of select Sam’s Club locations throughout its regional districts. The Expos will feature educational sessions and live-grilling demos to help Sam’s members learn more about the “low and slow” method of barbequing, as well as other tips and techniques from barbeque pros. Additionally, Sam’s Club members will have the opportunity to sample championship-style barbeque and get hands-on advice and experience from barbeque suppliers on the latest products in the BBQ industry.

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Ross Stores gives $100,000 to fashion scholarship fund

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Ross Stores is providing the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) with a multi-year endowment totaling $100,000, FSF reported.

In addition, FSF and Ross will award a $5,000 scholarship annually to each of four students who demonstrate excellence in retail leadership.  These award recipients will also be offered a summer internship with Ross. This year’s winners from the FSF Class of 2010 include: Alexandra Silvestri from Lehigh University, Chelsea Volpe from Iowa University, Marissa Zappia from Indiana University, and Marlena Filipowska from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Jennifer Vecchio, newly-appointed FSF board member and EVP merchandising for Ross said, “We believe this is an ideal opportunity to create a strategic relationship with an organization that is committed to developing and supporting the next generation of fashion industry leaders.  This partnership also benefits Ross by enabling us to identify and cultivate new talent to support our long-term growth.” 

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