FINANCE

Wet Seal says it was target of credit-card data theft ring

BY CSA STAFF

Foothill Ranch, Calif. Wet Seal said late Monday that it was one of the retailers targeted by a credit-card data theft ring in 2008 involving computer hacker Albert Gonzalez, who was sentenced to 20+ years in prison last Friday.

The apparel retailer said that it learned the group had gained unauthorized access to its systems to try to take customers’ credit- and debit-card data. Wet Seal said no evidence was found that the individuals actually obtained any customer data.

“The security of our customer’s personal information is of utmost importance to us, and we acted quickly and decisively when this matter arose two years ago. We are pleased that time has proven, as we believed from the outset, that none of our customer information was taken,” president and CEO Ed Thomas said in a statement.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years and a day in prison for his role in the data thefts, but a Massachusetts judge ordered that the term run concurrently with a 20-year term he already received from a different judge last Thursday in two related cases.

Friday’s sentencing involved the theft of credit-card numbers from the Scarsborough, Maine-based Hannaford Bros. supermarket chain, Dallas-based 7-Eleven, and Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based card-payment processor.

Thursday’s sentence stemmed from two cases that were combined and involved TJX Cos., BJ’s Wholesale Club, Barnes & Noble, OfficeMax and Dave & Buster’s.

Tens of millions of credit- and debit-card numbers were stolen, costing the companies, banks and insurers nearly $200 million.

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Churchill China introduces Jamie Oliver collection

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Churchill China unveiled a new tabletop line from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver at the International Home and Housewares show last week, according to reports.

The collection features dinnerware designed for easy use by the home cook, reports indicate. Items in the collection are reported to be multi-functional, easy to store and durable.

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Easter costs (a little) more this year

BY CSA STAFF

Target’s Easter circular this year featured virtually all of the same categories and weighed in at 36 pages, but prices were increased in select areas including bags of Easter candy featured on the cover at $2.69 versus $1.99 last year. Candy may cost more, but the price of small bamboo baskets (75 cents), Easter grass (25 cents), 12-count unfilled plastic eggs (65 cents) and Peeps ($1.49) stayed the same.

Price increases were evident on asparagus, $1.99 versus $1.49 last year, Sutton Dodge bone-in roast, $6.99 versus $5.99 last year, Market Pantry frozen turkey at 99 cents versus 78 cents last year and Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup at 75 cents compared to 66 cents.

Prices on other directly comparable advertised food items that were featured both years remained constant and included strawberries ($1.99), Philadelphia Cream Cheese (99 cents), Archer Farms bread ($2.99) and a complete Easter feast ($59.99). Prices declined in a few cases, including whole pineapple at $2.50 this year versus $2.99 last year and Kraft jet-puffed marshmallows at 96 cents this year versus 99 cents last year.

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