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Retail leaders express concern with healthcare legislation

BY CSA STAFF

Arlington, Va. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) expressed concern that healthcare reform legislation under consideration in the Senate would exacerbate many of the problems Congress has sought to correct, while also driving beneficiaries from the plans they know and like.

RILA and its member companies said they are committed to health care reform efforts that control overall costs, preserve the bedrock of employer-based health care, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and protect employers’ ability to design benefit plans to meet their unique workforce needs. In the letter, RILA urged practical changes to the Senate legislation that would protect the quality and affordable benefits RILA members provide.

RILA members currently provide benefits to millions of employees and their families. However, costly burdens, such as those imposed by the healthcare reform legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the legislation currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate, could undermine economic recovery, cost more jobs for the retail industry and drive employees from the healthcare plans they currently know and like.

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Report: Retail employees lacking in customer service

BY CSA STAFF

Cambridge, Mass. A Retail Service Quality Index released Friday showed that retail employees are not providing high-level customer service.

According to data from The Salt & Pepper Group’s new Retail Service Quality Index, which measures 39 separate service opportunities in retail settings, service components dragging the index down include retail associates’ greeting skills, failure to recognize when shoppers need assistance, and a lack of leadership presence on the sales floor.

“Store managers and front-line associates are forced to do more with less,” said Rick Miller, consulting analyst at The Salt & Pepper Group. “They may be lacking essential training, and they appear to have lost their motivation. They don’t see that, on a personal level, many potential rewards still exist.”

In 27% of the 1,027 interactions measured in the RSQI study, the service opportunity being measured simply is not performed. In other situations, the skill level with which interactions are performed varies greatly. The study found that retail associates seldom initiate contact with shoppers appropriately, struggle to manage multiple customers in busy environments, and often do not close sales in a manner that strengthens the retailer-customer relationship.

However, the study found that the retail sector generally scores well on providing excellent check-out processes and clean, inviting shopping environments; it lags in the human components.

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Ross restructures senior management

BY CSA STAFF

Pleasanton, Calif. Ross Stores announced Friday it has promoted Michael O’Sullivan to president and COO as part of a new senior-management restructure for the company.

O’Sullivan was formerly executive VP and chief administrative officer. In his elevated role, he will add store operations to his responsibilities, which currently include supply chain, information technology, strategy, finance, legal and human resources.

Barbara Rentler, formerly executive VP merchandising, has been promoted to president and chief merchandising officer. In her new role, she will continue to manage all apparel and apparel-related merchandising at Ross, as well as take on responsibility for the Ross home businesses.

James Fassio, 54, previously executive VP property development, construction and store design, has been named president and chief development officer. Fassio will continue to oversee the company’s real estate strategy, including new store development, construction and store design for both Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts.

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