OPERATIONS

Starbucks CEO defends company’s same-sex marriage stance

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, has never been one to shy away from taking a stand. Last week, at the chain’s annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, one shareholder questioned Schultz over the company’s support of same-sex marriage, including the same-sex marriage referendum in the state of Washington.

Shareholder Tom Strobhar, who is a founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, made his displeasure known regarding Starbucks’ support for marriage equality, claiming that a resulting boycott had affected Starbucks’ bottom line.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” said Strobhar.

Schultz explained that the company’s support of same-sex marriage had nothing to do with economics but instead was about respecting diversity.

"It is not an economic decision," Schultz said. "The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."

Schultz made it clear he had little patience with Strobar’s claim that the company had suffered for its views. And he offered the stockholder an easy way out.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” Schultz said.

His comments prompted cheers and applause from the audience.

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Firearms manufacturer earns Cabela’s award

BY CSA STAFF

SOUTHPORT, Conn. — Sturm, Ruger & Company, a firearms manufacturer, announced that the company has been named Vendor of the Year by Cabela’s.

“This is an exceptional honor considering the many world-class vendors that contribute to the success of Cabela’s," said Shawn Leska, Ruger director of sales. "This award also validates our ongoing efforts in new product design, improved manufacturing processes, enhanced marketing communication and expanded Distributor and Retailer programs, all of which contribute to Ruger’s success,” he continued.

Roger Verhulst, Cabela’s SVP merchandising, noted that it was a team effort by Ruger and Lipsey’s that earned the special recognition. “We have many vendor partners, but the Lipsey’s/Ruger team stands out as a key partnership,” said Verhulst. “Ruger and Lipsey’s have long term vision, great communication, offer new and exclusive products and help create a strategy to market together. We have a strong relationship with Lipsey’s and Ruger and they are doing the right things to contribute to success,” Verhulst concluded.

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OPERATIONS

ICSC applauds adoption of Marketplace Fairness Amendment in Senate

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — The International Council of Shopping Centers on Friday applauded the adoption of an amendment to the fiscal year 2014 Senate Budget Resolution. The amendment gives states the authority – if they so choose – to require online sellers to collect sales taxes just like brick-and-mortar retailers already do.

Seventy-five Senators from both parties voted for the amendment, laying the groundwork for a vote on S. 336, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, later this year. The vote also sends a strong signal to Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate that momentum for e-fairness legislation has been building since the end of last Congress.

ICSC has promoted sales tax fairness for over a decade, advocating that a "sale is a sale" regardless of whether the purchase takes place on Main Street, at shopping centers, over the Internet or with a smartphone.

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