STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 11)

n NRF NEWS West Coast Ports Want to 'Win Your Business Back' The mayor of Los Angeles is urging retailers not to abandon West Coast ports in response to drawn-out contract talks that led to crisis-level congestion and millions of dollars worth of missed shipments over much of the past year. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Eugene Seroka flew to Washington in March for a meeting at NRF headquarters with three dozen associations representing retailers, manufacturers, automakers, agriculture and other industries. Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup met with most of the same groups the next day. "Don't bet against the West Coast and don't bet against LA/Long Beach," Garcetti said. "This mayor and this port director - and I think we can speak for Long Beach as well - are committed to making sure we win your business back." Following negotiations that began last May, the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired July 1. The lack of a contract and operational issues led to crisis-level congestion, and NRF asked President Obama in December to appoint a federal mediator. A mediator joined the talks in January but a tentative agreement was not reached until TAX REFUNDS EARMARKED FOR SAVINGS The Internal Revenue Service has started mailing tax refunds, but most of the money will not be headed for retail cash registers. NRF's annual survey finds that 47 percent of taxpayers will put their refunds into savings while 39 percent will pay down debt. A quarter will use refunds to help cover daily expenses, and only 11 percent will splurge on a major purchase. "Americans are thinking of the future, and remaining financially secure is a big part of that," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. The percentage of consumers planning to put their refunds into savings is at its highest level in the nine-year history of the survey, and has climbed steadily since a low of 37 percent just before the 2008-2009 recession. NRF.COM/STORES February 20, after Labor Secretary Tom Perez sat down to personally broker a deal. By then, West Coast ports' share of cargo fell from 64 percent to 55 percent as shippers diverted goods to the East Coast. Retailers missed some shipments of holiday merchandise, manufacturers closed or slowed down assembly lines for lack of parts and farmers saw export-bound agricultural products rot on the docks. Clearing the backlog could take until May. Garcetti said he is developing a plan for the ports that will be in effect by the time the contract comes up for renewal in five years, including starting negotiations earlier. Other elements include automation, a truck scheduling model similar to Uber taxis and sharing of trailers used by truck drivers to haul cargo containers. Garcetti praised NRF's efforts during the contract talks, saying the federation provided an important "conduit for conversations" with retailers and "was a critical piece" of the process. NRF COO PROMOTED TO EVP NRF Chief Operating Officer Carleen Kohut has been promoted to executive vice president. "Carleen has played a leading role in shaping outcomes for the organization and our members on every single issue of consequence," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Carleen has elevated the profile of NRF and retail in more ways than imaginable." Kohut, who will hold the joint title of executive vice president and COO, joined NRF in 2000 as chief financial officer and became COO in 2011. She previously served as a CFO and senior financial executive at trade associations in the telecommunications and natural gas industries, and was a supervisor with Ernst and Young's public utilities group. STORES April 2015 11 http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015