OPERATIONS

Retired Crate & Barrel CEO Barbara Turf dies at 71

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Barbara Turf, 71, former CEO of Crate and Barrel, died July 12, at Evanston Hospital, of pancreatic cancer, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Turf was named CEO in 2008, after Crate & Barrel founder and longtime chief executive Gordon Segal retired. She joined Crate and Barrel as a part-time saleswoman in 1967, moving to its corporate headquarters in 1974. Turf retired as CEO in 2012 and joined the company’s board of directors, the company said in a statement.

“Barbara Turf’s impeccable eye for style, trend and design defined the merchandising and marketing vision of Crate & Barrel,” company CEO Sascha Bopp said in a statement. “She touched the lives of thousands of associates and developed invaluable relationships with vendors across the globe. Crate & Barrel would not be the company it is today without Barbara’s leadership. She will be missed.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Visa in deal with Borderfree to push U.S. retail promotions in Middle East

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Visa has entered into an agreement with Borderfree, a leading international cross-border e-commerce solutions provider, to offer customers in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan, special promotions from retailers in the United States.

Borderfree, based in New York City, operates a technology and services platform that allows U.S. retailers to transact with customers in more than 100 countries and territories and more than 60 currencies worldwide. Borderfree’s customer portfolio includes Bloomingdale’s, Sears, Macy’s, Gilt, Elie Tahari and Neiman Marcus.
The partnership kicks off with a Neiman Marcus promotion that will be rolled out in select markets in the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. Visa has partnered with almost 40 banks in the region to exclusively offer cardholders of participating banks duty-free and free international express shipping of goods purchased in excess of US $100 through Aug. 20.

The promotion also extends to leading fashion retail brand Elie Tahari and Gilt, the online retailer that provides instant access to today’s top designer labels at up to 60% off. Through Aug. 20, shoppers will have duty-free and free international shipping on orders of US $100 or more with Elie Tahari and free international shipping with Gilt on orders of US $100 or more.

“Visa is excited to engage with one of the leading ecommerce platforms in the world and offer customers of select banks the opportunity to purchase products from some of the most coveted fashion and retail brands without leaving the comfort of their homes,” said Karim Beg, head of marketing at Visa MENA. “Visa has been committed to growing its e-commerce footprint in the MENA region and this promotion with top US merchants such as Neiman Marcus, Elie Tahari and Gilt is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to the ever-growing base of online shoppers in the region.”

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News

Spending growth solid in June

BY CSA STAFF

First Data Corporation reported solid June spending growth in a number of sectors in its First Data SpendTrend analysis for May 31, 2014 through June 30, 2014, compared to June 1, 2013 through July 1, 2013.

SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks from nearly 4 million merchant locations serviced by First Data.

A slowly improving economy and growing job market have helped drive consumer spending. Spending growth in June slowed slightly from May but remained positive on a year-over-year basis with a growth of 3%.

While spending in travel and hotel slowed from the previous month, growth was still strong in these sectors, with a year-over-year increase of 4.9% and 7.1%, respectively. Food and beverage stores spending was up 4.7% versus May’s 4.2% growth, a trend reflecting an increase in food costs.

Retail spending growth retreated slightly in June compared to May but remained positive with 1.2% growth. 5.7% growth in building and gardening materials and 1.5% growth in furniture and home furnishings reflect continued improvement in the housing market. However, a slowly declining unemployment rate caused consumers to remain hesitant and kept overall retail spending growth moderate.

Average ticket growth also decreased slightly from May but remained positive at 0.9% growth on a year-over-year basis, reflecting increased food and gas prices. Food and drinking places and food and beverage stores saw a growth of 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively, as rising food costs impacted the average ticket in these categories for consumers.

Finally, credit spending continued to be the preferred spending method this month with a 5.3% increase in transaction growth and a 3.9% dollar volume growth. The increase in transaction volume was supported by year-over-year growth in categories such as hotel and travel, where consumers tend to utilize this payment method most.

“This month’s trends showed some slowing in spending growth but overall, spending remains healthy, reflecting the recovering economy and consumer willingness to spend compared to the same time last year,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, information and analytics solutions, First Data. “An increase in credit usage reflects steady growth in credit lending, improved consumer credit quality and a growing consumer confidence in their personal finances.”

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