OPERATIONS

President Obama, Apple CEO, retailers to speak at Summit on cybersecurity

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Assorted advocacy groups and professional associations, including the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Merchant Financial Cyber Partnership, are urging the White House to take steps to improve cybersecurity for retail transactions. The public call comes as President Obama convenes a daylong Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford University on Feb. 13. The summit, which will include a keynote speech by the president, is part of a renewed drive to combat cyber hackers. Panels will focus on boosting collaboration between companies and agencies, improving cybersecurity to protect consumers and better securing payment processing systems.

In an open letter to President Obama, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay requested immediate passage of federal protection for debit cards, similar to what is currently available for credit cards. He also called for U.S. retailers to accept PIN and chip cards, rather than rely on “fraud-prone” signature-based cards, and for all entities in the payment system to adopt point-to-point encryption to protect consumers’ payment information throughout the entire payments chain, adopt open tokenization standards, enact a single national data breach notification law, and pass legislation to aid in the investigation and prosecution of cybercriminals.

“As you convene tomorrow’s Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford University, we support your plans to embrace the role of information-sharing organizations like NRF and pass federal legislation to protect and encourage more private-sector sharing of cyber threat information,” Shay said in the letter.

In addition, the Merchant Financial Cyber Partnership, a collaboration of advocacy groups for retailers, hospitality providers and financial institutions, released a set of principles for protecting the payment system. These include the “five pillars” that card fraud is harmful to all parties, information sharing leads to better consumer experience and increased approval of valid transactions, looking forward to emerging threats, sharing responsibility for transaction security, and focusing on the consumer.

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Jo-Ann Fabric names Shopko exec as CEO

BY CSA STAFF

Hudson, Ohio — Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has named a 25-year retailing veteran, former Shopko exec Jill Soltau, as president, CEO and a member of the board, effective March 2. She succeeds Jim Kerr, who has served as interim CEO since August when Travis Smith stepped down. Kerr will continue as executive VP and CFO.

Soltau joins Jo-Ann with more than 25 years of diverse experience in the retail industry. She most recently served as president of Shopko, rising to that role after earning various executive positions of increasing responsibility since joining in 2007.

“We are excited to partner with Jill as we continue to build upon Jo-Ann’s leading position in the fabric and craft industry. Jill’s passion, strategic vision and proven success make her an excellent leader for the company going forward,” said Todd Purdy, a partner with Leonard Green & Partners, the private equity firm that owns the retailer.

Prior to her tenure at Shopko, Soltau held several senior level positions in merchandising, planning and private brand management at Sears and Kohl’s, after starting her career with Carson Pirie Scott.

Jo-Ann operates some 850 stores nationwide.

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Report: Target lays off 550 headquarters employees as it exits Canada

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Target Corp. plans to lay off about 550 headquarters employees as the company winds down its Canadian operations, the Star Tribune reported Wednesday. The retailer is also eliminating 170 positions at its tech operations in India that supported the Canadian venture.

About 350 of the headquarters job are being eliminated Wednesday, with the remaining employees to be let go after Target’s stores in Canada are liquidated.

"This is a difficult day for the Target team but we continue to believe that the steps we are taking are the right ones for the company," Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan told the Star Tribune in a statement.

Target said the laid-off employees will remain on the payroll for at least 60 days and “comprehensive” severance packages will be given out based on their years of service, the report said. The company also said it will pay the employer portion of their benefits for the next six months.

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