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The highest users of retail credit cards are found in…

BY Marianne Wilson

Some metro areas are home to heavy users of retail cards while other locations have a population who use retail cards more sparingly.

That’s according to a study by CompareCards, which found that residents of McAllen, Texas, are by far the highest users of retail credit and charge cards. The report also revealed that the average balance on a U.S. retail credit card is $2,699.

McAllen earned a final score of 87.2 and ranked first in the following three categories:

• The number of people who have retail cards (72%);

• The number of retail card owners who carry a balance on their retail cards (45%), with an average retail card balance of $3,207; and

• The percentage of credit card debt carried on a retail card (17%).

Honolulu has the lowest retail card usage, with a final score of 9.4. Although it didn’t rank last in any individual category, it ranked extremely low in all.

In other findings from the study:

• Charleston, S.C., lands a score of 68.8 with 63.4 percent having retail credit cards. Although it is second on the list, Charleston has the highest average balance on retail cards ($4,026), and 32.9% who have a retail card carry a balance. Retail balances make up 13.1% of their total credit card debt.

• Bakersfield, Calif., rounds out the top three locations that use the most retail cards with a score of 66.1, and an average retail card balance of $3,053. A sizeable 68.1% of people have retail cards, 37.3% keep a balance on their cards, and retail card balances make up 14.5% of their total credit card debt.

To view the full report, which was compiled after combing through TransUnion credit data from users of My LendingTree, the free credit monitoring service of the parent company of CompareCards, click here.

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Retailers back legislation that reins in tariffs

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The National Retail Federation is backing legislation that could strike an appropriate balance in trade policy, and ward off a trade war.

The NRF called on lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation introduced on Wednesday that would require congressional approval of “Section 232” tariffs. This includes the steel and aluminum tariffs recently imposed by the Trump administration, and any additional tariffs in the future.

The legislation was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and a bipartisan group of senators. The proposed tariffs have triggered widespread retaliation against United States exports. The administration is also considering tariffs on automobiles and auto parts.

“The Constitution is clear: Congress has the authority to regulate commerce and oversee trade,” NRF senior VP for government relations David French said. “It’s time for Congress to exert its authority and play a leading role in mitigating escalating trade tensions with our strongest allies.”

“There needs to be a more appropriate balance on trade policy between Congress and the executive branch, and we applaud Senators Corker and Toomey for working to achieve that,” he added. “With the threat of a global trade war, Congress must step in before the U.S. economy suffers, American jobs are lost and families are forced to pay more for everyday products.”

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Grocer bolsters fresh offering with meal kit deal

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Giant Food of Landover is HelloFresh’s newest retail partner.

The supermarket operator is selling HelloFresh meal kits in the deli section across all of its 166 stores throughout Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. The partnership comes on the heels of Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. announcing it will sell HelloFresh’s boxed meals in 581 stores under the Giant Food and Stop & Shop banners, starting in June.

Giant’s locations feature five flavors, including Chickpea Couscous, Paprika Chicken, Peppercorn Steak, Mediterranean Style Chicken, and Homestyle Meatloaf, each comprised of pre-cut, pre-measured, and pre-washed ingredients. The boxes, which take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook, serve two people. Prices range from $14.99 to $19.99 per kit.

The meal kits coincide with Giant’s efforts to bolster its prepared food and convenience options, which include expanded hot bars; quick-serve stations, such as sushi, sandwiches and smoothies; and grab-and-go options, such as snacks, salads, sandwiches, and rotisserie chickens. Giant will continue to introduce these fresh options throughout the month of June, according to the retailer.

“As we look to expand our prepared food items at Giant, the partnership with HelloFresh was a natural fit,” said Tonya Herring, VP of merchandising at Giant Food. “For customers that may not have as much time to spend cooking at home…meal kits are a great convenience option.”

Giant is the latest company to add meal kits to its offering. In addition to Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. working with HelloFresh, Walmart began offering meal kits in some 250 stores in March. The discount giant also plans to roll out the offering to more than 2,000 of its stores this year.

Target is working with Minnesota-based Local Crate, a winner of its Target + Techstars competition, and now sells boxed meal kits in select Minnesota Target stores. Meanwhile, Albertsons Cos. acquired prepared-meals company, Plated.

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