FINANCE

Senate Introduces Bill to Curb Credit-Card Fees

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C. The Senate on Friday introduced an antitrust legislation that would require Visa and MasterCard to negotiate with merchants over hidden credit-card processing fees. These fees cost the average family more than $400 a year and total $48 billion annually, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“The introduction of this bill shows momentum is building in Congress and that both the House and Senate are ready to bring the credit-card companies’ greed under control,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “This is a fee most consumers don’t even know about, but it’s the equivalent to half a dozen tanks of gas or a month’s worth of groceries. If consumers knew how much they were paying for credit cards, most would say it isn’t worth the price, particularly in today’s economy.”

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008. The legislation is a companion measure to H.R. 5546, also named the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., in March.

Both measures would require credit-card systems possessing “substantial market power” to negotiate with merchants to reach a voluntary agreement on credit-card terms and conditions. If an agreement could be reached, both sides would be required to submit their final offers to a binding arbitration by a three-judge panel appointed by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.

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Target May sales rise 5.5%

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target reported that its net retail sales for May increased 5.5% to $4.6 billion from $4.3 billion for the same period last year. On this same basis, May comparable-store sales decreased 0.7%.

Our comparable store sales performance in May was in line with our planned range, said Gregg Steinhafel, president and ceo of Target.

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Talbots to cut corporate staff by 9%

BY CSA STAFF

HINGHAM, Mass. Talbots said it is reducing its corporate staff by about 9% as part of its efforts to streamline operations and rationalize its cost structure. The company expects this action to result in estimated annualized cost savings of approximately $14 million, which contributes to the company’s goal to reduce its cost structure by a minimum of $100 million by the end of fiscal 2009 (as announced on Feb. 6).

Trudy Sullivan, president and ceo of Talbots, said, A key finding of our strategic review completed in the first quarter of 2008 was the need to realign and streamline internal company functions to enable the successful execution of our long-range plan. We therefore are examining all areas of our business to maximize efficiency and drive overall improved productivity. We are making excellent progress in achieving all of the objectives laid out in our strategic long-range plan and are firmly on track to restore profitability from our ongoing core operations and deliver enhanced shareholder value beginning in 2008. 

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