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Uber, Visa partner with local merchants to offer discounted rides

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Uber riders in San Francisco and Los Angeles are getting even more benefits when they book a ride. A partnership between Uber and Visa will enable customers to earn discounted rides when they use their Visa credit card on file with Uber at their favorite local merchants.

Visa cardholders who use Uber in the United States spend more than $144 billion per year in physical stores, with $2 billion spent at local businesses soon after getting out of an Uber, according to VisaNet. Uber and Visa hope to expand this volume through Uber Local Offers, a program that rewards Uber riders with one point for every dollar spent at enrolled merchants. For every 100 accumulated points, riders will receive $10 off a future Uber ride. Points are tallied directly in the Uber app.

“We’ve built Local Offers right into the Uber app, making it a one stop shop for riders to see our curated list of places, and track progress toward free rides,” said Drew Quinn, product manager, Uber.

Merchants participating in Uber Local Offers expect the program to encourage riders to shop and dine in their stores and restaurants in exchange for Uber points, a move that drives increased customer acquisition, engagement and retention. The program, which is currently available in San Francisco and Los Angeles, features Peet’s Coffee and Mixt Greens, among other local restaurants.

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Fred’s names retail veteran as CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Photo:Michael K. Bloom

Fred’s announced it has promoted COO Michael K. Bloom to chief executive, effective Aug. 29.

Bloom succeeds CEO Jerry A. Shore, who became chief executive in October 2014 and intends to retire in February.

Bloom joined Fred’s as president and COO in January 2015, the same titles he formerly held at Family Dollar Stores. Prior to Family Dollar, Bloom spent more than 20 years with CVS Caremark Corporation, holding a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities in merchandising and operations and rising finally to executive VP of merchandising, marketing, advertising, and supply chain.

“With more than 30 years of experience in small-box retail, throughout merchandising, marketing, supply chain and store operations, Mike has proven himself as a strategic, innovative and effective leader,” said Thomas H. Tashjian, chairman of the board of directors, Fred’s, which operates 651 discount stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 states in the southeastern United States. “As our president and chief operating officer, Mike has been the architect of the transformation taking place in our front store. Our bard and the company’s entire management team are enthusiastic and confident about the capabilities and vision that Mike brings to the CEO position.”

Fred’s said that Bloom has worked closely with Shore on building a strong management team to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

In a separate announcement, Fred’s promoted Craig Barnes, executive VP of supply chain, global and domestic logistics, to the newly created role of COO — front store.

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Howard Hughes Corp. tops out Hawaiian tower

BY Al Urbanski

Howard Hughes Corporation this week topped out the second of three residential towers destined for Ward Village, a 60-acre, master-planned community in Honolulu that will deliver 4,000 new residences when completed.

The finished Anaha tower, set to welcome residents in 2017, will house a Merriman’s restaurant and Oahu’s flagship Whole Foods Market.

The Ward’s Village master plan, approved in 2009 by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, calls for up to 9.3 million sq. ft. of mixed used development and more than a million sq. ft. of retail.


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