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Swipe-fee reform amendment squashed by Senate

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The retail industry won a big victory in Washington, D.C., as the Senate defeated an amendment that proposed to delay swipe-fee reform for another 12 months.

As reported Wednesday morning by Drug Store News, Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., offered an amendment to legislation that was designed to delay swipe-fee reform — which is set to go into effect July 21 by the Federal Reserve — and built on Tester’s previously introduced Debit Interchange Fee Study Act of 2011. The Senate vote was 54-45, with one senator opting to not vote, leaving the amendment six votes shy of approval.

The retail industry, particularly the lobbying groups, lauded the decision late Wednesday.

“This is a landmark victory for American consumers that will give them the break from skyrocketing swipe fees that they have been seeking for years," National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "With the economy still trying to gain momentum and consumers facing skyrocketing costs for necessities like food and fuel, this badly-needed reform will help ensure our nation’s economic recovery. It will prevent more than a billion dollars a month from being pocketed by big banks and, in turn, allow retailers to hold down prices for consumers."

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which represents the drug retailing industry, said the defeat of the amendment was a victory for both consumers and the retail industry, curbing costs that affect each group.

“We thank Sen. Dick Durbin,D-Ill., for his leadership in bringing this issue to the forefront of Congress, and working diligently to prevent a delay to the pro-retailer and pro-consumer swipe fee reform,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

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Target finalizes location of Canada HQ

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Target’s board has finalized the decision to locate the company’s Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, said president, chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel at a shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Target announced in late May the selection of the first 105 of up to 220 Zellers stores in Canada, which plans to convert the majority of the initial stores to Target stores and reopen them in 2013. The company said at the time that it would set up the headquarters in a 180,000-sq.-ft. space in Mississauga pending approval by the company’s board.

Other plans include the opening of small-format City Target stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco in 2012 and a revamping of the company’s website this fall, Steinhafel said.

During a question-and-answer period, the company came under intense criticism surrounding the $150,000 it donated last year to MN Forward, a conservative group that backed the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Tom Emmer, a gay-rights opponent whose views on immigration also attracted anger from the Latino community. In the wake of the controversy, which prompted pop singer Lady Gaga to cancel a deal with the retailer to promote her album “Born This Way,” Target revised its policy on political donations and created an executive committee to manage them. The company has long supported gay and lesbian organizations, and Steinhafel responded to criticism by saying the decision to donate to MN Forward was based on economic rather than social issues.

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O-I keeps it ‘glassy’ with new campaign

BY Allison Cerra

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois has launched a campaign that showcases the use of glass packaging by food and beverage brands.

O-I, which produces packaging for such companies as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Heinz, MillerCoors and S. Pellegrino, found that as recently as April 2011, nearly 70% of 1,000 Americans surveyed said that if they could purchase their favorite food or beverage in any container, they would choose glass. Additionally, 90% said they agreed with the statement that glass is the healthiest packaging available, while 85% said food and beverages taste better when packaged in glass containers.

In response to this, O-I has launched the Glass is Life campaign, which will host advertisements in 12 countries and seven languages. Additionally, the campaign also is supported on Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s time to tell the world about the benefits of glass,” O-I VP and chief marketing officer Erasmo Schutzer said. “The thought leaders featured in O-I’s Glass Is Life campaign are instrumental in helping us launch a more aggressive marketing strategy. Together we’ll show how glass preserves flavor, maintains health, enhances quality, protects the environment and builds brands.”

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