OPERATIONS

Retailers back Marketplace Fairness Act

BY Marianne Wilson

Arlington, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded reintroduction of federal legislation introduced today that closes the decades-old loophole that gives special treatment to online-only retailers.

In a letter to Senate and House sponsors of the Marketplace Fairness Act, RILA EVP for public affairs Katherine Lugar, highlighted the need for a level playing field: "The retail industry has always been fiercely competitive with merchants competing every day for consumer dollars based on price, value, services and other factors. But today, Main Street merchants compete on a playing field that has been skewed against them due to a loophole that allows online-only retailers to evade collecting state sales taxes. This practice has given these sellers a perceived price advantage of up to 10%, a competitive edge that results in government policy picking winners and losers in the free market."

Encouraging lawmakers to act in 2013 on this important priority for the retail industry, Lugar touted the legislation’s broad bipartisan appeal and its importance to local communities: "This state’s rights approach has the blessing of governors and state legislators throughout the country, in addition to the Main Street merchants who invest locally by hiring employees, paying property taxes and contributing to their communities."

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J.Shaughness says:
Feb-15-2013 11:45 am

"Marketplace Fairness Act"
Of course RILA supports the MFA. Anything they can do to cripple their competition is in their best interest, if not in the best interests of the consumer. BTW, not collecting sales tax on internet purchases is a "loophole"? It's not a loophole, it's current law, and you should characterize it as such.

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FINANCE

Tiffany files suit against Costco for trademark infringement

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Tiffany & Co. has filed suit against Costco Wholesale Corp., alleging alleges trademark infringement, dilution, counterfeiting, unfair competition, injury to business reputation, false and deceptive business practices and false advertising. Tiffany said it filed the suit “to prevent further sales of counterfeit diamond engagement rings and for damages associated with prior sales.”

Tiffany said that in November 2012, a customer alerted Tiffany to the sale of what was promoted on in-store signs as “Tiffany” diamond engagement rings at a Costco store in Huntington Beach, Calif. Tiffany immediately launched an investigation, and later learned that for many years, and without Tiffany’s knowledge, Costco had apparently been selling different styles of rings that it has falsely identified on in-store signage as “Tiffany.”

“We now know that there are at least hundreds if not thousands of Costco members who think they bought a Tiffany engagement ring at Costco, which they didn’t. Costco knew what it was doing when it used the Tiffany trademark to sell rings that had nothing to do with Tiffany. This is not the kind of behavior people expect from a company like Costco, and this case will shed a much needed light on this outrageous behavior,” said Jeffrey Mitchell of Dickstein Shapiro, Tiffany’s counsel in the case. “The Tiffany brand has been damaged, Costco members have been damaged, and Costco has profited from the sale of engagement rings by misrepresenting what they were.”

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OPERATIONS

Bon-Ton relaunches updated loyalty program

BY Staff Writer

Milwaukee — The Bon-Ton Stores announced that its “Your Rewards” loyalty program has been revamped and will be reintroduced beginning Feb. 15.

The new program will allow customers to begin earning rewards as soon as he or she $200 on their “Your Rewards” credit card at any of The Bon-Ton Stores seven nameplates, including Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers or online.

The new program rewards customers in a much more tangible, flexible way, giving them a $20 Rewards Card for every $200 spent. Each reward can be applied to a purchase of $50 or more, with certain exclusions, or they can be accumulated and stacked for greater savings as they are earned.

Customers will be able to use multiple Rewards Cards with their purchases, thereby “stacking” their redemption which will start at $20 off $50 and increase as rewards are earned: $40 off $100, $60 off $150, $80 off $200 and up. For cosmetics or fragrance purchases, customers will receive $10 off a $50 purchase and they can stack the rewards to save even more.

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