OPERATIONS

Office Depot releases 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot announced Tuesday the release of its 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report, highlighting its commitment to business, ethics, diversity, environmental sustainability and community.

Highlights of the report include diversity initiatives such as its Historically Underutilized Businesses catalog, which features products by businesses owned by minorities, women, the disabled and veterans; its ranking as the greenest retailer in America; and its compliance training initiatives.

“In 2010, Office Depot remained steadfast in all aspects of our corporate social responsibility commitments despite economic conditions that remained challenging for the office supply business,” said Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO, Office Depot.

The 2011 Office Depot Corporate Citizenship Report is available online at officedepotcitizenship.com.

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FINANCE

ICSC launches website for sales tax fairness

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — The International Council of Shopping Centers announced Tuesday the launch of a new website devoted to sales tax fairness and how the current sales tax system is unable to support the 21st Century retail marketplace.

The site, 21stcenturyretail.org, will be continuously updated to provide the public, stakeholders, the media and lawmakers with information on the online sales tax loophole and resources to help level the playing field for all retailers, according to ICSC.

“Online retailers have been given a free pass for far too long at the expense of their brick-and-mortar counterparts," said Betsy Laird, ICSC senior VP of global public policy. "ICSC is among the many voices calling on Congress to close the online sales tax loophole.”

ICSC has promoted sales tax fairness for over a decade, advocating that a "sale is a sale" regardless of whether the purchase takes place on Main Street, at shopping centers, via mail-order or over the Internet.

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OPERATIONS

Apple taps head of U.K. retailer Dixons to replace Johnson

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Apple Inc. has hired John Browett, CEO of Dixons Retail PLC, the United Kingdom’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, to lead its retail store division. The appointment marks the end of a seven-month search to replace Ron Johnson, who left the world’s most valuable technology company last year to become CEO of J.C. Penney Co.

Browett, 48, will start at Apple in April as senior VP. He has been chief executive of Dixons since 2007. Prior to that, he was CEO of Tesco.com, a division of the world’s No.3 retailer Tesco Plc. Browett’s international experience is sure to be valuable to Apple as it focuses on expansion into new markets such as China.

Browett will report to Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” Cook said in a statement.

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