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Office Depot won’t renew government contract

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla. Office Depot said Friday it will not seek to renew its contract with Los Angeles County, according to a report by the South Florida Business Journal.

Los Angeles County serves as the lead agency contract for office supplies under the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance.

The current contract, which represents about $515 million in projected annual sales, expires at the end of the year, the company said.

“The company believes that the RFP contains terms that could not only negatively impact its profitability, but also the means to provide cost effective alternatives to public sector customers that buy through the U.S. Communities program,” Office Depot said in a statement.

On June 16, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida revoked Office Depot’s membership after the company settled a pricing dispute with the state of Florida.

Last month, Office Depot agreed to pay about $4.5 million in refunds to eligible customers in negotiating a settlement with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

An investigation determined the company allegedly switched certain local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations in Florida “from one pricing plan to another without their full understanding or knowledge, potentially resulting in higher prices for those customers,” according to a news release from McCollum’s office.

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Visa launches new payment card security initiative

BY CSA STAFF

On Wednesday, Visa Inc. launched a new payment card security initiative that the company said could eliminate the need for retailers and other organizations to store full, 16-digit credit and debit card numbers on their systems.

The move comes in response to long-standing pressure from the National Retail Federation, which maintains that merchants should not be required to store the information because of security risks.

Under the new initiative, Visa said it will push card issuers and acquiring banks to allow merchants to present truncated, disguised or otherwise masked card numbers for dispute resolution cases. Some permit this already, but the goal is to make the practice broader, said Eduardo Perez, head of global payment system security at Visa.

Visa said it plans to seek feedback from industry stakeholders on the challenges and issues involved in moving to a more secure payment industry model. After Visa reviews the feedback, it will decide whether to make the recommendations a mandated requirement.

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West Marine sales rise 8.4% in 2Q

BY CSA STAFF

West Marine Inc. reported Thursday that its net revenues for the quarter ended July 3 were $233.4 million, an increase of 8.4% over the year-ago period.

Same-store sales jumped 9.4%.

According to the company, sales benefitted from warmer weather in the northeast. However, “in the southeast, we have been starting to feel the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as boating activities are increasingly restricted,” said Geoff Eisenberg, CEO.

West Marine, a specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, operates 330 company-operated stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, and two franchised stores in Turkey.

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