Starbucks asks customers to sign petition against government shut-down
Seattle — Starbucks Coffee Co. is once again throwing itself into the middle of a national debate. In an open letter on the chain’s website, founder and CEO Howard Schultz said that, starting Oct. 11, the company will circulate petitions in its stores across the nation urging lawmakers to reopen the partially closed government and avoid a looming default.
“Starbucks will offer up its thousands of stores across the nation to give the millions of customers who come through our stores every week, and thousands of partners (employees) who serve them, an opportunity to have their voices heard by signing our petition,” Schultz wrote.
The petition will be circulated Friday through Sunday. Consumers can also sign the petition digitally at ComeTogetherPetition.com or "like" the petition’s Facebook post, which will count as a signature to the petition.
The "voluntary, non-partisan" petition asks Congress and the White House to reopen the government, pay U.S. debts on time, and pass a long-term bipartisan budget deal by the end of the year.
“What has become clear to me over these past few days — aside from the continued dysfunction we see from our elected leaders — is the sad and striking realization that the American people have no platform with which to voice their frustration with Washington and the current stalemate that threatens our nation,” Schultz wrote.
Newspaper ads promoting the petition will appear Friday in USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
Schultz also sent letters to business leaders, encouraging them to sign onto his initiative, Reuters reported.
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Neiman Marcus to invest $100 million in omnichannel project
New York — Luxury department store retailer Neiman Marcus Group plans to invest in a $100 million project designed to drive sales across all its retail channels: physical stores, mobile and online, the Dallas Business Journal reported.
The report, which cited a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, described the project as a multi-year initiative to develop a merchandising platform across all brands and channels.
The development of the platform is expected to begin during fiscal 2014. It is targeted for implementation in fiscal 2016.
ICSC: September sales post 4.0% increase; drug stores strongest performing segment
New York — U.S. chain-store sales posted a gain of 4.0% for the fiscal month of September on a year-over-year basis according to a tally compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Excluding gasoline sales, the September tally would actually be +5.1%.
“The biggest story line here is that the September performance was led by the drug-store segment, posting its strongest monthly showing since April 2007,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “This seemingly heralds the full recovery of this segment after an extended period of weakness due to several mitigating factors.”
Drug-store sales rose by 6.0% in September. Apparel was the weakest performing segment, posting a 0.1% gain (preliminary number does not include Gap Inc.).
For October, ICSC research anticipates that comparable-store sales will increase between 3% and 4.0%. However, the backdrop of the federal government shutdown does have the potential to curb spending during the month, biasing the October expectations to a slightly weaker performance even on the heels of a strong gain in September.
The ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for 11 chain stores during the month of September. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for "comparable-store" or "same-store" sales and for total store sales. Those data are presented as an index.
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