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Report: Mother’s Day spending to be nearly flat

BY Alaric Dearment

Los Angeles — Mother’s Day spending will be nearly flat this year as more Americans return to work and have less spare time, according to a new report by market research firm IBISWorld.

The report forecast a 0.2% rise in purchases on Mother’s Day gifts this year over last year, for a total of $17.1 billion.

Growth is expected to be strongest in easy-to-purchase items like flowers and gift certificates, which will grow by 3.9% and 2.2%, to $2.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Greeting cards will see a 5.3% decline, from last year’s $750 million to $710 million this year, while housewares and gardening items will decline by 3.5%, from last year’s $690 million to $660 million this year.

But overall Mother’s Day spending growth this year represents a huge drop from last year, which saw a 6.5% increase over 2011 as more Americans had disposable per capita income. The decline in greeting cards is due to a shift among consumers to e-cards, email and social networks.

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Google Wallet co-founder heads to Braintree

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — Braintree, a payments platform for online and mobile commerce, has appointed Google Wallet co-found Rob von Behren as the company’s lead engineer for its San Francisco office.

In his new role, von Behren will be charged with helping to advance Braintree’s position in mobile commerce, including its one-touch mobile payment solution Venmo.

Von Behren entered the payments world four years ago when he and co-founder Jon Wall conceived, founded and successfully launched Google’s groundbreaking Google Wallet mobile payment system. A long-time systems engineer, von Behren has experience in distributed computation, high-performance computing and concurrent algorithms. He holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Washington and studied for his doctorate in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Rob is among a handful of the very best engineers in mobile and he will help us to continue leading the way in mobile commerce innovation," said Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree. "The best online and mobile commerce experiences run on Braintree because we have exceptional engineers like Rob building the payments tools they’d want to use for their own applications."

Companies that run on Braintree’s payment platform include Fab, Airbnb, Uber, LivingSocial, AngryBirds, HotelTonight and more than 4,000 e-commerce and mobile companies. Braintree handles more than $8 billion in annual payment volume, including more than $2 billion in mobile commerce transactions. The company is powering single-click purchasing for more than 40 million consumers and now allows for one-touch purchasing across apps on a mobile device with its Venmo Touch product.

"Joining Braintree gives me the opportunity to solve real problems companies and people face when transacting online and on mobile devices," said von Behren. "Braintree’s approach to mobile is spot-on with the vision I have imagined for the future of payments. It’s exciting to be part of realizing the potential."

Braintree has nearly tripled the company’s headcount in the last year and has attracted talent from Google, Square, Yahoo and Groupon. Twitter’s SVP of engineering Chris Fry joined Braintree’s board of directors in March. The company expects to continue hiring engineers and entrepreneurs across its offices in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

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CVS joins White House effort to hire vets, military spouses

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced that it was among several national companies represented at an event hosted on Tuesday by President Obama, VP Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden as part of the Joining Forces initiative.

During the event, the administration asked companies participating in the Joining Forces initiative to hire and train 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years, after nearly tripling its original goal of hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.

CVS Caremark noted that it has been a supporter of hiring veterans and has been recognized for its work to hire and train veterans, guard and reserve members and military spouses. As part of Joining Forces, CVS Caremark stressed its commitment to hire veterans and military spouses for 25% of its new hires in logistics and distribution centers over the next four years.

"With millions of service members transitioning out of the military over the next several years, CVS Caremark is poised and ready to hire and train qualified veterans and military spouses," stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. "We recognize and appreciate the values, experience and skills service members have, and know hiring veterans and military spouses not only strengthens our business, it also enhances our existing workforce." 


David Casey, VP and chief diversity officer for CVS Caremark and a former United States Marine, and Alfredo Ruiz, a supervisor in CVS Caremark’s Vero Beach, Fla., distribution center and a retired U.S. Army soldier, attended the announcement on behalf of the company. 


CVS Caremark recently was recognized by DiversityInc as one of the Top 10 Companies for Veterans. The company also received the Pro Patria Award from the Rhode Island Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The Pro Patria Award is presented to one small, one large and one public sector employer in each state that has demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices. Rhode Island ESGR also nominated CVS Caremark for a Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of employees serving in the Guard or Reserve.

Earlier this year, CVS Caremark signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Statement of Support on behalf of the company, reiterating the company’s support for servicemen and women and their families.

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