FINANCE

PriceSmart sales up 10.7% in April; opens new club in Colombia

BY Marianne Wilson

San Diego — PriceSmart announced that for the month of April 2013 net sales increased 10.7% to $176.1 million, from $159.1 million in April a year earlier. For the eight months ended April 30, 2013, net sales increased 11.0% to $1,483.8 million.

For the four-week period ended April 28, same-store sales for the 29 warehouse clubs open at least 13 1/2 full months increased 9.6%, compared to the four-week period last year.

PriceSmart also announced that on May 3, 2013 it opened its third warehouse club in Colombia, in the city of Cali. The location brings to 31 the total number of warehouse clubs in operation by the company.

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FINANCE

Senate approves Internet sales tax; opposition looms in House

BY Marianne Wilson

Arlington, Va. — The U.S. Senate on late Monday approved the long-debated Internet sales tax proposal, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, by a bipartisan vote of 69 to 27. The Obama administration has already endorsed the bill, but before it can become law it must be approved by the House, where Republicans are split on the bill.

The legislation would allow the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) that currently charge sales taxes to require large online retailers to collect tax on purchases made by their residents. While some House Republicans have expressed support for the measure, others view it another tax increase on consumers or express fear it would overburden Internet businesses in their states.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to the Senate vote to pass the legislation, which it described as aimed at giving states the power – if they so choose – to better enforce their sales tax laws and to level the playing field for Main Street merchants.

The legislation, sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), passed the Senate by more than a two to one margin.

“The Senate’s overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of this legislation foreshadows the end of the special treatment of big online businesses at the expense of retailers on Main Street,” said Bill Hughes, senior VP for government affairs. “After such a resounding vote in the Senate, we look forward to a constructive debate in the House to level the playing field for all retailers this year.”

“For too long the Main Street retailers that are an integral part of their communities have faced tax rules that put them at a disadvantage to their out of state, online-only competitors. The Senate has voted to ensure that the market, not government, determines winners and losers,” Hughes continued. “We are confident the House will reach the same conclusion."

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Godiva strengthens its omni-channel position

BY CSA STAFF

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — Godiva has signed a new multiyear agreement with eBay company GSI Commerce, which will enable the global chocolatier to leverage GSI’s omni-channel commerce, multichannel retailing and digital marketing services.

Under the terms of the agreement, which extends their existing partnership, GSI will continue to provide fulfillment, order management technology and customer care solutions to the company. Additionally, GSI will now manage freight solutions and co-packing services in conjunction with Godiva’s internal team.

“Our brand is dedicated to delighting our customers and GSI is committed to helping us deliver on that promise with consistent excellence in fulfillment and customer service,” said Godiva CEO Jim Goldman. “Having a trusted partner that can help us grow our business and provide a superior quality delivery solution helps us maintain and evolve this important part of the Godiva experience.”

Godiva uses GSI’s ShipQuik program to seamlessly manage freight costs and resources, which ensures that every package arrives in premium condition. GSI’s co-packing services range from building baskets, towers and gift boxes with personalized messaging to tying custom ribbons on individual truffle boxes. GSI also manages Godiva’s corporate gifting and special events fulfillment program and provides front line customer care for sales and service issues.

“Godiva’s dedication to excellence directly aligns with GSI’s core purpose, which is to deliver an exceptional consumer experience,” said Tobias Hartmann, head of GSI global operations. “And when a world-class brand and its solutions partner have common goals, it’s a win-win situation for consumers.”

Godiva currently operates more than 500 boutiques in more than 70 countries.

GSI’s e-commerce services include technology, order management, payment processing, fulfillment and customer care, and are available on a modular basis or as part of an integrated solution. GSI’s marketing services combine digital marketing products and services, which include database management and segmentation, marketing distribution channels, a global digital agency to drive strategic and creative direction and an advanced advertising analytics and attribution management platform.

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