OPERATIONS

Starbucks to move Europe headquarters to London

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Starbucks Corp. plans to move its European headquarters to London, from its current base in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The move will both concentrate some executives in the U.K., including some transferred from the Amsterdam office, and also increase the tax Starbucks pays in the U.K.

Starbucks paid an estimated $16.8 million in U.K. taxes during 2013 and has said it expects to pay the same amount in 2014. The company has received criticism in the U.K. for allegedly using complex accounting procedures to minimize the tax it pays there.

The U.K. is Starbucks’ fastest-growing market in Europe, and managing operations there more closely is one reason the company plans to move its headquarters. Starbucks expects to open more than 100 new stores in the U.K. during 2014, and moving its headquarters should create 1,000 new jobs in addition to the 7,500 U.K. workers Starbucks currently employs.

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PriceGrabber, StellaService partner to offer customer service data

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – PriceGrabber and StellaService are launching a partnership where PriceGrabber will display StellaService’s online retailer ratings and customer service performance data on PriceGrabber.com. In addition, PriceGrabber will act as a distribution partner for StellaService to its network of digital publishers.

StellaService is an independent provider of customer service performance ratings and analytics for online retailers. Starting April 16, when consumers search for a product on PriceGrabber, the retailer’s customer service rating will appear alongside the list of prices in search results. StellaService’s ratings and customer service performance data is also available to PriceGrabber publisher sites via subscription.

As part of the partnership, the StellaService Seal of quality customer service will be added to product, search, and merchant information pages within PriceGrabber. StellaService data will be displayed to provide consumers with detailed information about the following metrics across retailers: average time to reach a live agent over the phone, average email response time, average number of days to delivery, percentage of products delivered on time, number of days for their return policy, and number of days to issue a refund.

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Study: Easter-related retail shipments rise 22%

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Retailers are preparing for a strong Easter shopping season, with shipments of “Easter” related items up more than 22% from 2013. According to analysis of shipments from December to February (the time when retailers stock their shelves for Easter) from global trade data provider Panjiva shows that U.S. retailers recorded a total of 4,610 Easter-related shipments during this period in 2013-2014, compared to 3,772 in 2012-13.

In addition, shipments including the terms “Easter” and “eggs” climbed 46% to 724 from 497, while shipments including the terms “Easter” and “bunny” grew 21% to 635 from 521. Shipments only including the term “bunny” increased a more modest 2%, to 1,735 from 1,703.

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