FINANCE

Report: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Retail Liability Bill

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend vetoed the latest attempt by a state legislature to make merchants liable for costs caused by breaches in electronic security, according to a Women’s Wear Daily report.

The fight over the data-security bill, which passed in September with strong bipartisan majorities—73-0 in the Assembly and 30-6 in the Senate—isn’t over, the report said. Its sponsor, Democratic State Sen. Dave Jones, is expected to seek an override vote, which requires a two-thirds majority to buck the governor.

California Retailers Association president Bill Dombrowski said finding enough votes from Republicans to achieve an override might be difficult, as several GOP members who first voted “yes” did so to protest the governor on an unrelated party issue, the report said.

Similar bills are under consideration in Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Schwarzenegger said in his Saturday veto message that the credit card industry’s own data-security standards and contracts enforcing them are sufficient protection for consumers, the report said. He also said the bill doesn’t clearly define which business entity owns or licenses data for purposes of assigning blame.

Retailers, who lobbied the governor for a veto, argue the bill would result in their paying millions of dollars to compensate banks to reissue credit cards, as well as to consumers who might find stronger legal ground to sue over misuse of stolen financial or personal information, according to the report.

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Whole Foods expands ESL use in Southwest

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods has expanded its use of electronic shelf labeling throughout its Southwest division, according to reports.

The switch from paper to digital labels occurred three years ago, which Whole Foods claims is environmentally friendly as it reduces the amount of paper and plastic used when prices are changed. Its success has led to all stores in Texas and Louisiana to make the switch.

“It saves us a lot of labor and materials,” said Michael Maynard, head of Whole Foods Southwest Regional Information Technology. “We used to use a little vinyl shelf tag that we put on a plastic chip and put that on the shelf. You can imagine how much labor (switching) saved us.”

Maynard added that electronic shelf labeling allows Whole Foods to react more quickly to changes in competitor prices.

“If somebody has lower prices down the street, we can change the whole category down to the price as well,” he said.

The company uses thousands of digital shelf tags, which cost about $5 each.

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Ahold to sell Tops chain for $310M

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands Ahold yesterday announced that it is selling its Tops Markets chain to a private equity firm for $310 million. The company added that the divestment of Tops is part of its strategic review announced in November 2006.

Ahold said it sold the chain to Morgan Stanley Private Equity and that the transaction is expected to close in ther fourth quarter of this year. 

Tops operates stores in western New York, mid-state New York including the Rochester area, and northwestern Pennsylvania under the banners of Tops Markets and Martin’s Super Food Stores. Tops currently employs approximately 10,000 full- and part-time associates.

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