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

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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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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Coach CEO to step down in 2014; to be succeeded by head of international ops

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Coach Inc. said that its longtime CEO, Lew Frankfort, will step down in January 2014. He will be succeeded by Victor Luis, head of Coach’s international operations, at which point Frankfort will become executive chairman. Coach named Luis president and chief commercial officer in the interim and said he will also join the board.

The appointment was the result of a multiyear succession process in which it considered both internal and external candidates, Coach said. Frankfort’s contract was set to expire in July after an extension four years ago, Reuters reported.

“Coach is a great company with exceptional brand and business equities and a strong and seasoned leadership team," said Luis in a statement. "Together with Lew, we will build upon the company’s strong foundation, leveraging the global opportunity, while continuing to evolve the Coach brand."

Frankfort, who joined Coach in 1979 and was named CEO in 1995, transformed Coach from a small leather goods handbag maker into a global luxury brand with stores around the globe, including some 500 in the United States.

Coach is coming off a somewhat disappointing holiday season. Most recently, it announced its intent to become a "head-to-toe" lifestyle brand by significantly expanding its offering of shoes and clothing.

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