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Tile Shop appoints Best Buy exec as COO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Rochester, Minn. – Tile Shop Holdings has appointed Chris Homeister to the newly created position of COO, effective immediately. In this role, Homeister will oversee supply chain, retail operations and merchandising.

Homeister previously served as the GM and senior VP of Best Buy’s Entertainment Business Group, where he led all elements of this multi-billion dollar business across retail and online channels.

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NRF: Retailers share debt swipe fee savings

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation welcomed a new study that shows retailers have passed along the majority of the savings from debit card swipe fee reform to their customers, and that the resulting increase in consumer spending has boosted job creation across the country.

But the study also shows that benefits for consumers and the economy could have been much larger if the Federal Reserve had set its cap on debit swipe fees lower as directed by Congress.

“This is clear evidence that retailers have seen significant savings from swipe fee reform and that they’re sharing that savings with their customers in a variety of ways,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “That’s a huge improvement over where we were before reform, and both consumers and the economy are better off. But the savings could have been far greater for retailers and consumers alike if the Federal Reserve had capped debit swipe fees at the level intended by Congress. The fight to bring swipe fees under control is far from over.”

Retailers saved $8.5 billion in 2012 thanks to a cap on debit card swipe fees that took effect on October 1, 2011, and passed along $5.87 billion of that savings to customers, according to a report titled “The Costs and Benefits of Half a Loaf: The Economic Benefits of Recent Regulation of Debit Card Interchange Fees.” The savings for customers led to increased consumer spending that increased the demand for goods and services while retailers put their share into hiring additional workers or business spending that created jobs. Together, the boost in economic activity supported the creation of 37,500 new jobs in both retail and other industries.

The savings could have been larger, however, if the Federal Reserve had set the cap at its original proposal of no more than 12 cents per transaction rather than yielding to banking industry pressure and setting it at about 21 cents instead, the study said. The savings would have totaled $12.5 billion and 55,000 jobs would have been created, according to the study.

The study was written by economist Robert Shapiro, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton. It was prepared for the Merchants Payments Coalition, which was formed by NRF and other trade associations in 2005 to fight rising swipe fees.

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Meijer to raise Obamacare awareness with Mich.-based health plan

BY CSA STAFF

Meijer plans to address the need many consumers have for more information about the health insurance exchanges that are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Michigan-based mass-merchandise retailer announced that it would partner with Michigan health plan Priority Health to raise awareness and help customers obtain information about their options as open enrollment for health insurance begins. The new program includes a website, Health Reform and You! and informational brochures distributed at the chain’s 203 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

"We know patients will have questions about their health care, and we consider it important to be able to help them get the answers they need regarding the Affordable Care Act," Meijer drug store VP Nat Love said. "Meijer is committed to providing options to help our customers lead healthier lives. We want to help them find the information they will need to make the best choices for the health care of their families while addressing any questions or confusion they may have."

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