OPERATIONS

Shop.org names 6 new board members

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. – Shop.org, the digital retail division of the National Retail Federation (NRF), named six new members to its board of directors and also reappointed three existing members. All nine members will serve two-year terms.

New members are Elaine Boltz, senior VP of e-commerce, the TJX companies; Jill Braff, executive VP of digital commerce, HSNi, Ivy Chin, senior VP of e-commerce and omnichannel digital, Belk; Jason Goldberg, VP of commerce strategy, Razorfish; Kasey Lobaugh, principal and chief retail innovation officer, Deloitte Consulting; and Matthew Kaness, chief strategy officer, Urban Outfitters.

Re-elected members are Miki Berardelli, chairman of Shop.org board and CMO, Tory Burch; Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor; and Bernardine Wu, CEO, FitForCommerce.

“The new additions to the Shop.org board bring another level of expertise and professionalism to an already stellar list of digital leaders,” said NRF senior VP and executive director of Shop.org, Vicki Cantrell. “Shop.org is confident that each member of the board will bring value and insight to the issues online retailers face each day, resulting in revolutionary solutions.”

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Toy retailer owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway gets brainy

BY CSA STAFF

OMAHA, Neb. — Oriental Trading Company, a direct retailer of value-priced party supplies, arts and crafts, toys, novelties and school supplies owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has acquired brainy toy manufacturer MindWare Holdings.

MindWare is a manufacturer, wholesaler and direct retailer of what it describes as “brainy toys for kids of all ages,” based in Minneapolis, Minn. Oriental Trading Company is headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

“MindWare’s extensive selection of proprietary, award-winning educational toys, games and books is the perfect addition to our product assortment,” said Sam Taylor, CEO of Oriental Trading Company. “MindWare’s offering includes more than 1,000 educational products and will support our efforts to respond to the needs of educators and parents as we continue our mission to make the world more fun. We look forward to helping the MindWare team grow their brand and accelerate the pace at which they bring fantastic products to market.”

More than half of MindWare’s revenue is generated from exclusive, proprietary toys, games and books the company has created. During the past two years, MindWare’s proprietary products received 46 awards from nine different parenting organizations and publications, including Germany’s “Spiel des Jahres” (Game of the Year) award for Qwirkle. Most recently the company’s Mine Shift game received the Mensa Select Award, one of the most prominent awards in the toy industry.

“We are thrilled to be able to add our games and toys to the many products offered by Oriental Trading,” said Martin Smith, CEO of MindWare. “Like Oriental Trading Company, MindWare has grown from a small family business to a respected leader in its industry. With its broad customer base and large-scale, world-class technology and operations platform, Oriental Trading is clearly an excellent home for our educational products.”

MindWare products are sold via the company’s catalogs and e-commerce site, as well as by specialty and mass market retailers and internationally through distributors in more than 35 countries. Select MindWare products will appear in Oriental Trading’s catalogs and its e-commerce site this holiday season.

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OPERATIONS

Hobby Lobby cleared to challenge federal birth control mandate

BY Dan Berthiaume

Oklahoma City – Hobby Lobby has received permission from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to continue its challenge of the federal mandate requiring for-profit employers to offer certain types of birth control coverage as part of their employee health care plans. As a result, Hobby Lobby will at least temporarily avoid having to start paying millions of dollars in fines for non-compliance next week.

Hobby Lobby will continue its arguments in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma that providing federally mandated coverage for what are commonly known as “morning after” and “week after” pills violates the religious beliefs of David Green, founder and CEO of the company, and his family, and that exemption from the mandate should be extended beyond non-profit religious groups. Hobby Lobby currently provides coverage for preventative contraception and says it will continue to do so.

“It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said David Green, founder and CEO. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit group providing the retailer legal representation in the case, said the decision is a milestone for Hobby Lobby.

“This is a tremendous victory not only for the Green family and for their business, but also for many other religious business owners who should not have to forfeit their faith to make a living,” said Duncan.

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