Hershey Rejects Indication of Interest from Mondelēz International

MondelezMondelēz International recently indicated interest in purchasing The Hershey Co., but Hershey has rejected its proposal.

The Hershey Co. has confirmed that Mondelēz International presented Hershey with a preliminary, non-binding indication of interest to acquire the company.

Within the indication of interest, Mondelēz International proposed the acquisition of the company for a mix of cash and stock consideration, totaling $107 a share of Hershey common stock. The indication of interest also included other non-monetary considerations.

Hershey’s Board of Directors, after receiving input from the company’s management and its outside financial and legal advisors, carefully evaluated the indication of interest. Following this review, the Board of Directors of the company unanimously rejected the indication of interest and determined that it provided no basis for further discussion between Mondelēz and the company.

Hershey’s Board of Directors and management team are committed to enhancing value for all stockholders in accordance with the company’s strategic plan.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Hershey Rejects Indication of Interest from Mondelēz International appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

NACS Celebrates Circuit Court’s Rejection of Visa/MasterCard Settlement

NACSRetailers rejoice as the Second Circuit Court off Appeals court has ruled the settlement from Visa and MasterCard to be “unreasonable and inadequate.”

NACS is celebrating the recent decision made by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the class-action settlement in the case In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation.

The aforementioned case led to a proposed settlement valued at $7.25 billion in 2012, and this ruling called the settlement “unreasonable and inadequate.”

NACS led efforts to oppose the $7.25 billion proposed settlement, which when it was announced in July 2012 was the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history, because the relief it offered was inadequate and the release was overly broad.

NACS both opted out and objected to the proposed settlement because it offered class members money damages of only about two months’ worth of interchange and, among other things, limited modifications to Visa’s and MasterCard’s surcharging rules. Worse, the proposed settlement required class members to release Visa and MasterCard from liability, forever, for any anticompetitive rules currently in place (including the interchange or swipe fee rules) and/or any “substantially similar rules” instituted at any time in the future.

In addition to opposition from NACS, the proposed settlement was opposed by the majority of named plaintiffs and approximately 1,200 additional merchants and retailer groups filed papers objecting to preliminary approval of the proposed settlement.

The convenience store industry has credit card fees of $10 billion, according to the recently released NACS State of the Industry Report of 2015 Data.

“We are pleased that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has thoughtfully addressed the problems we have long identified with this proposed settlement. We will work to help ensure that this moves forward in a way that recognizes the best interests of merchants and the consumers they serve,” said NACS president and CEO Henry Armour.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post NACS Celebrates Circuit Court’s Rejection of Visa/MasterCard Settlement appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

NACS Celebrates Circuit Court’s Rejection of Visa/MasterCard Settlement

NACSRetailers rejoice as the Second Circuit Court off Appeals court has ruled the settlement from Visa and MasterCard to be “unreasonable and inadequate.”

NACS is celebrating the recent decision made by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the class-action settlement in the case In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation.

The aforementioned case led to a proposed settlement valued at $7.25 billion in 2012, and this ruling called the settlement “unreasonable and inadequate.”

NACS led efforts to oppose the $7.25 billion proposed settlement, which when it was announced in July 2012 was the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history, because the relief it offered was inadequate and the release was overly broad.

NACS both opted out and objected to the proposed settlement because it offered class members money damages of only about two months’ worth of interchange and, among other things, limited modifications to Visa’s and MasterCard’s surcharging rules. Worse, the proposed settlement required class members to release Visa and MasterCard from liability, forever, for any anticompetitive rules currently in place (including the interchange or swipe fee rules) and/or any “substantially similar rules” instituted at any time in the future.

In addition to opposition from NACS, the proposed settlement was opposed by the majority of named plaintiffs and approximately 1,200 additional merchants and retailer groups filed papers objecting to preliminary approval of the proposed settlement.

The convenience store industry has credit card fees of $10 billion, according to the recently released NACS State of the Industry Report of 2015 Data.

“We are pleased that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has thoughtfully addressed the problems we have long identified with this proposed settlement. We will work to help ensure that this moves forward in a way that recognizes the best interests of merchants and the consumers they serve,” said NACS president and CEO Henry Armour.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post NACS Celebrates Circuit Court’s Rejection of Visa/MasterCard Settlement appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Industry Advocacy Needed

Fran Duskiewicz

Fran Duskiewicz

Committee work and share groups allow c-store stakeholders to impart ideas and information for the betterment of everyone.

By Fran Duskiewicz

I worked for Nice N Easy for 30 years. For 20 of those years, it seemed as though I spent as much time on activities and projects outside of our company on things that benefited our company in a broader, more tangential way, than I did on my own responsibilities.

We were involved in the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) and National Advisory Group (NAG). The company also participated in share groups, user groups, trade publication editorial boards and just about any industry initiative that we deemed worthy of our time and attention.

If I worked seven days a week it was because, at various times, I was maintaining two careers. And, I’m not unique in this regard—not by a longshot.

I worked for a man who honestly believed that a rising tide lifted all boats, that if the industry could marshal its forces to improve its image, technology, data mining and foodservice efforts, that all of us would benefit. He was correct. Industry cooperation has resulted in quantum leaps in all these areas, not to mention the legal battles won in the war against unfair credit card charges and practices.

TRADE CONSORTIUM
NAG, NACS and state organizations have done a marvelous job staffing committees and project initiatives with smart, capable people from companies doing interesting and creative things. Share groups and study groups are bringing top executives from non-competing companies together to benchmark everything from sales growth to labor productivity. Some of the most interesting industry events are staged by trade journals and sponsored by our supply community.

Time away from the home office can become significant and often burdensome. And the competition for share of retailer attention only seems to be growing more intense. So, how do we manage this?

To be perfectly honest, there were times that I had to bow out of committee work and projects. Nice N Easy needed me more and that was made crystal clear to me quite often. And many times we heard the message that it wasn’t our job to tell everyone what we were doing, no matter how proud of it we were. Still, when the request was made directly to Nice N Easy Founder John MacDougall, more often than not, we were committed to be involved in another industry project or committee. But, there was a caveat—we were required to come back with something we heard or saw that would benefit Nice N Easy.

BACK AT HOME
We HAD to show that Nice N Easy benefited in some way by our involvement, even if we simply learned something interesting by networking at a cocktail party or during a meeting break. Often, before we left for industry meetings, we would create a list of questions we were supposed to get answers for, and we really did try to find them because we had to report back to John what we learned. Yes, he did read our reports.

As much as our senior staff enjoyed our share group, we were always questioned if we believed we were getting back as much as we were contributing. Our answer to that was always a resolute “yes,” because some of the best and most enduring friendships we ever made within the industry came from our share group. Still, John constantly needed proof of value.

I never hesitated to explain that the decision I made to stop counting food inventory every week, and to use food purchases as cost of foodservice goods sold didn’t come from my fertile imagination, but from talking to two folks from Wawa and Sheetz at a PCATS meeting.

Our inventory turn reports made much more sense to everyone when I created the ‘Days on Hand’ metric for on-hand inventory. Why have 21 days of cigarette inventory on hand when you get weekly deliveries? What if the days on hand of a department are more than your credit terms?  It’s a wonderful metric. I had to admit I got it from Loring Perez when he was chief financial officer at Spectrum Stores and they were in our share group.

So, you don’t need to be the Sphinx when involved in industry committee work or share groups, nor do you need to be “the smartest person in the room.” Be prepared to share whatever you can, but remember that you are surrounded by the best and brightest of our industry and you should always take advantage of that opportunity.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Industry Advocacy Needed appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Industry Advocacy Needed

Fran Duskiewicz

Fran Duskiewicz

Committee work and share groups allow c-store stakeholders to impart ideas and information for the betterment of everyone.

By Fran Duskiewicz

I worked for Nice N Easy for 30 years. For 20 of those years, it seemed as though I spent as much time on activities and projects outside of our company on things that benefited our company in a broader, more tangential way, than I did on my own responsibilities.

We were involved in the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) and National Advisory Group (NAG). The company also participated in share groups, user groups, trade publication editorial boards and just about any industry initiative that we deemed worthy of our time and attention.

If I worked seven days a week it was because, at various times, I was maintaining two careers. And, I’m not unique in this regard—not by a longshot.

I worked for a man who honestly believed that a rising tide lifted all boats, that if the industry could marshal its forces to improve its image, technology, data mining and foodservice efforts, that all of us would benefit. He was correct. Industry cooperation has resulted in quantum leaps in all these areas, not to mention the legal battles won in the war against unfair credit card charges and practices.

TRADE CONSORTIUM
NAG, NACS and state organizations have done a marvelous job staffing committees and project initiatives with smart, capable people from companies doing interesting and creative things. Share groups and study groups are bringing top executives from non-competing companies together to benchmark everything from sales growth to labor productivity. Some of the most interesting industry events are staged by trade journals and sponsored by our supply community.

Time away from the home office can become significant and often burdensome. And the competition for share of retailer attention only seems to be growing more intense. So, how do we manage this?

To be perfectly honest, there were times that I had to bow out of committee work and projects. Nice N Easy needed me more and that was made crystal clear to me quite often. And many times we heard the message that it wasn’t our job to tell everyone what we were doing, no matter how proud of it we were. Still, when the request was made directly to Nice N Easy Founder John MacDougall, more often than not, we were committed to be involved in another industry project or committee. But, there was a caveat—we were required to come back with something we heard or saw that would benefit Nice N Easy.

BACK AT HOME
We HAD to show that Nice N Easy benefited in some way by our involvement, even if we simply learned something interesting by networking at a cocktail party or during a meeting break. Often, before we left for industry meetings, we would create a list of questions we were supposed to get answers for, and we really did try to find them because we had to report back to John what we learned. Yes, he did read our reports.

As much as our senior staff enjoyed our share group, we were always questioned if we believed we were getting back as much as we were contributing. Our answer to that was always a resolute “yes,” because some of the best and most enduring friendships we ever made within the industry came from our share group. Still, John constantly needed proof of value.

I never hesitated to explain that the decision I made to stop counting food inventory every week, and to use food purchases as cost of foodservice goods sold didn’t come from my fertile imagination, but from talking to two folks from Wawa and Sheetz at a PCATS meeting.

Our inventory turn reports made much more sense to everyone when I created the ‘Days on Hand’ metric for on-hand inventory. Why have 21 days of cigarette inventory on hand when you get weekly deliveries? What if the days on hand of a department are more than your credit terms?  It’s a wonderful metric. I had to admit I got it from Loring Perez when he was chief financial officer at Spectrum Stores and they were in our share group.

So, you don’t need to be the Sphinx when involved in industry committee work or share groups, nor do you need to be “the smartest person in the room.” Be prepared to share whatever you can, but remember that you are surrounded by the best and brightest of our industry and you should always take advantage of that opportunity.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Industry Advocacy Needed appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Containing Utility Costs

Energy StarToday, there are many ways for convenience stores to reduce their utility bills.

By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor

Scott Zaremba likes to experiment with new ideas. The owner of three Zarco USA convenience stores in Lawrence, Kan., Zaremba grew in the fuel and convenience store industry and is constantly searching for ways to boost his business, cut costs, sell more and improve the performance of everyday operations.

“I’m always thinking there is another, better way to do things,” Zaremba said. That includes slashing utility expenses in his stores.

One of his most successful utility-reduction efforts has been the 2008 installation of a living roof atop his drive-through coffee kiosk, which is located next door to one of his c-stores. Originally, the kiosk sported a flat roof. “I put a pitch on it and made it into a living [green] roof and cut the electricity bill by half,” said Zaremba. “It’s very unique.”

WIND, SUN AND WATER
The kiosk, leased to a Scooter’s Coffee franchise, includes five-inches of soil, 17 varieties of sedum and a water-storing ground cover that is tough enough to thrive on a roof. No green thumb is necessary to maintain its good looks.

“You don’t water it. You don’t fertilize it. You don’t cut it. You don’t do anything,” he said. “If one variety of sedum goes away, another one comes in. Then, that one goes away and the other comes back. If I had to do a bunch of work on it, it would not be valuable to me. The whole idea was to have it be low or no maintenance to justify the cost of putting it in.”

As for the payoff, the roof “keeps the building warm and cool because it has a great insulation factor,” Zaremba said.

Living roofs are not a common sight in the U.S., but they make a big impact on the structures that sport them. The 10.4-acres of sedum covering the Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., is one of the largest green roofs in the world.

The flat roof of vegetation collects and filters storm water runoff and keeps the facility about 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer, resulting in a 5% reduction in heating and cooling expenses, according to the company.

Even when the sedum is soaked with water, the roof weighs less than 15 pounds per square foot. As an added bonus, the plants trap airborne dust and dirt, absorb carbon dioxide and provide a habitat for birds, butterflies and bugs.

Experts are still uncertain about the average life of a green roof, but many suspect it can last twice as long as a traditional roof. Today, the green roofs of New York’s Rockefeller Center have the same waterproofing membranes [the water-tight material laid on the roof] that were installed in the 1930s.

A green roof is not Zaremba’s only effort to reduce utility expenses. He tested the feasibility of wind power when he topped one of his fueling locations with a vertical, eight-foot-by-seven-foot wind turbine that “looks like a mixer,” he said. “It can generate 350,000 kilowatts per year.”

The turbine (shown on the opposite page, atop a Zarco station) was installed at Zaremba’s fueling location that offers drivers both biodiesel and ethanol. “The problem is that our electricity in the Midwest only costs about 11.5 cents a kilowatt,” he said. “And at that rate, payback on the wind turbine will be about 50 years. Now if you put up a $3.5 million wind tower that can do 10 megawatts, it would pay for itself.”

Zaremba hopes that just seeing the turbine will inspire some of his customers to consider adopting practices—large or small—that will reduce their personal ecological footprint.

GETGO GREEN
At the GetGo convenience stores, owned and operated by the Giant Eagle supermarket chain, based in Pittsburgh, solar-roofing technology is a green addition at several outlets.

“The energy conserved in these locations contributes to the 750,000 kilowatt-hours Giant Eagle saves annually across all solar-equipped locations,” said Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesperson.

GetGo locations with a WetGo car wash use a water reclamation system aimed at making car washing more environmentally friendly.

“A single car wash at WetGo uses approximately 50% fewer gallons of fresh water than typical car washes,” Donovan said.

LED LIGHTNG
Although utility bills are a small portion of a convenience store’s total operating costs, improving efficiency and cutting energy expenses can increase profits by as much as 10%, according to E Source, a Boulder, Colo., market research company serving the utility industry.

One of the easiest ways retailers can reduce electricity consumption and save money is using LED lighting in and outside a store. In 2011, 7-Eleven began converting its store lighting system from the traditional florescent to LED. After upgrading 4,500 locations, the company announced in December 2015 that it had saved over $7 million in energy costs since the conversion began.

Rutter’s Farm Stores recently opened two new Pennsylvania locations, one in the city of Leola and the other near Gettysburg. Both outlets have LED lighting that gives them a bright, updated look, according to Derek Gaskins, chief customer officer at Rutter’s.

“LED-based lighting even improves monument signs,” he said.

Several years ago, a lighting expert told Zaremba, “keep in mind you don’t see light. You see the reflection of what it’s shining on.”

“That changed my perspective,” said Zaremba. “LEDs are so directional now and cost effective. They cut our utility bill because they don’t put out so much heat and don’t use as much electricity. It’s one of the most exciting things we have in our industry.”

LED lights come in a variety of color temperatures that are measured on the Kelvin scale in numbers ranging from 2700K-6500K. The lower the K value, the warmer the light and the more yellow the tone. Higher K values give off a cooler light and have blue tones.

“And it’s much more directional so you aren’t just flooding the area with light,” said Zaremba, who estimates they use 25% less wattage now than with his old lights. “We’re directing the light toward products because it gives a much warmer feel even. LEDs are so much more efficient and the costs have come down so dramatically. Four years ago, they were so expensive.”

TEAM EFFORT
At RaceTrac,the Atlanta-based chain that operates 650 stores throughout the South, an energy and sustainability team is responsible for implementing energy, waste and water initiatives throughout the company.

“The team researches, analyzes and implements projects to reduce operating expenses and best manage RaceTrac’s energy impacts,” said Colin Block, senior analyst of energy and sustainability at RaceTrac.

“To date, we’ve installed LED lighting at all RaceTrac stores and added white roofs to our construction specifications,” Block said.  “White roofs better reflect sunlight and the related heat, which enables stores to keep their interiors cooler with greater efficiency, ultimately cutting down on HVAC usage.”

The convenience store company also installed low-flow, automated water fixtures and is in the process of implementing a number of other large sustainability-related initiatives, including a full Energy Management System (EMS) rollout, “smart” irrigation that reduces outdoor water use by monitoring site conditions and more efficient HVAC and refrigeration units.

The team also is responsible for getting all employees onboard by educating them on energy, waste and water management.

“We meet with all regional operations and maintenance teams to review best practices and discuss how our initiatives will affect operations at the store level,” Block said. “We enlist the store teams to keep thermostats at pre-set levels, close all walk-in coolers and freezers, and ensure that all exterior doors are closed to better manage indoor temperatures. Equipment not currently in use must be shut off.”

The company’s policy requires store managers to report all water issues via a third-party maintenance platform, and all faucets must be turned off when not in use. This helps maximize the system’s potential.

“When it comes to waste, our store employees break down and recycle cardboard boxes to divert some of our waste away from the landfills,” he added.

“We have seen savings from the energy efficiency projects implemented over the past few years,” Block said. “We’ll continue to research and analyze business cases that help reduce operating costs while managing our energy, waste and water impacts. We’re focusing much of our work this year on data analytics to better understand our overall impact.”

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Containing Utility Costs appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Containing Utility Costs

Energy StarToday, there are many ways for convenience stores to reduce their utility bills.

By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor

Scott Zaremba likes to experiment with new ideas. The owner of three Zarco USA convenience stores in Lawrence, Kan., Zaremba grew in the fuel and convenience store industry and is constantly searching for ways to boost his business, cut costs, sell more and improve the performance of everyday operations.

“I’m always thinking there is another, better way to do things,” Zaremba said. That includes slashing utility expenses in his stores.

One of his most successful utility-reduction efforts has been the 2008 installation of a living roof atop his drive-through coffee kiosk, which is located next door to one of his c-stores. Originally, the kiosk sported a flat roof. “I put a pitch on it and made it into a living [green] roof and cut the electricity bill by half,” said Zaremba. “It’s very unique.”

WIND, SUN AND WATER
The kiosk, leased to a Scooter’s Coffee franchise, includes five-inches of soil, 17 varieties of sedum and a water-storing ground cover that is tough enough to thrive on a roof. No green thumb is necessary to maintain its good looks.

“You don’t water it. You don’t fertilize it. You don’t cut it. You don’t do anything,” he said. “If one variety of sedum goes away, another one comes in. Then, that one goes away and the other comes back. If I had to do a bunch of work on it, it would not be valuable to me. The whole idea was to have it be low or no maintenance to justify the cost of putting it in.”

As for the payoff, the roof “keeps the building warm and cool because it has a great insulation factor,” Zaremba said.

Living roofs are not a common sight in the U.S., but they make a big impact on the structures that sport them. The 10.4-acres of sedum covering the Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., is one of the largest green roofs in the world.

The flat roof of vegetation collects and filters storm water runoff and keeps the facility about 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer, resulting in a 5% reduction in heating and cooling expenses, according to the company.

Even when the sedum is soaked with water, the roof weighs less than 15 pounds per square foot. As an added bonus, the plants trap airborne dust and dirt, absorb carbon dioxide and provide a habitat for birds, butterflies and bugs.

Experts are still uncertain about the average life of a green roof, but many suspect it can last twice as long as a traditional roof. Today, the green roofs of New York’s Rockefeller Center have the same waterproofing membranes [the water-tight material laid on the roof] that were installed in the 1930s.

A green roof is not Zaremba’s only effort to reduce utility expenses. He tested the feasibility of wind power when he topped one of his fueling locations with a vertical, eight-foot-by-seven-foot wind turbine that “looks like a mixer,” he said. “It can generate 350,000 kilowatts per year.”

The turbine (shown on the opposite page, atop a Zarco station) was installed at Zaremba’s fueling location that offers drivers both biodiesel and ethanol. “The problem is that our electricity in the Midwest only costs about 11.5 cents a kilowatt,” he said. “And at that rate, payback on the wind turbine will be about 50 years. Now if you put up a $3.5 million wind tower that can do 10 megawatts, it would pay for itself.”

Zaremba hopes that just seeing the turbine will inspire some of his customers to consider adopting practices—large or small—that will reduce their personal ecological footprint.

GETGO GREEN
At the GetGo convenience stores, owned and operated by the Giant Eagle supermarket chain, based in Pittsburgh, solar-roofing technology is a green addition at several outlets.

“The energy conserved in these locations contributes to the 750,000 kilowatt-hours Giant Eagle saves annually across all solar-equipped locations,” said Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesperson.

GetGo locations with a WetGo car wash use a water reclamation system aimed at making car washing more environmentally friendly.

“A single car wash at WetGo uses approximately 50% fewer gallons of fresh water than typical car washes,” Donovan said.

LED LIGHTNG
Although utility bills are a small portion of a convenience store’s total operating costs, improving efficiency and cutting energy expenses can increase profits by as much as 10%, according to E Source, a Boulder, Colo., market research company serving the utility industry.

One of the easiest ways retailers can reduce electricity consumption and save money is using LED lighting in and outside a store. In 2011, 7-Eleven began converting its store lighting system from the traditional florescent to LED. After upgrading 4,500 locations, the company announced in December 2015 that it had saved over $7 million in energy costs since the conversion began.

Rutter’s Farm Stores recently opened two new Pennsylvania locations, one in the city of Leola and the other near Gettysburg. Both outlets have LED lighting that gives them a bright, updated look, according to Derek Gaskins, chief customer officer at Rutter’s.

“LED-based lighting even improves monument signs,” he said.

Several years ago, a lighting expert told Zaremba, “keep in mind you don’t see light. You see the reflection of what it’s shining on.”

“That changed my perspective,” said Zaremba. “LEDs are so directional now and cost effective. They cut our utility bill because they don’t put out so much heat and don’t use as much electricity. It’s one of the most exciting things we have in our industry.”

LED lights come in a variety of color temperatures that are measured on the Kelvin scale in numbers ranging from 2700K-6500K. The lower the K value, the warmer the light and the more yellow the tone. Higher K values give off a cooler light and have blue tones.

“And it’s much more directional so you aren’t just flooding the area with light,” said Zaremba, who estimates they use 25% less wattage now than with his old lights. “We’re directing the light toward products because it gives a much warmer feel even. LEDs are so much more efficient and the costs have come down so dramatically. Four years ago, they were so expensive.”

TEAM EFFORT
At RaceTrac,the Atlanta-based chain that operates 650 stores throughout the South, an energy and sustainability team is responsible for implementing energy, waste and water initiatives throughout the company.

“The team researches, analyzes and implements projects to reduce operating expenses and best manage RaceTrac’s energy impacts,” said Colin Block, senior analyst of energy and sustainability at RaceTrac.

“To date, we’ve installed LED lighting at all RaceTrac stores and added white roofs to our construction specifications,” Block said.  “White roofs better reflect sunlight and the related heat, which enables stores to keep their interiors cooler with greater efficiency, ultimately cutting down on HVAC usage.”

The convenience store company also installed low-flow, automated water fixtures and is in the process of implementing a number of other large sustainability-related initiatives, including a full Energy Management System (EMS) rollout, “smart” irrigation that reduces outdoor water use by monitoring site conditions and more efficient HVAC and refrigeration units.

The team also is responsible for getting all employees onboard by educating them on energy, waste and water management.

“We meet with all regional operations and maintenance teams to review best practices and discuss how our initiatives will affect operations at the store level,” Block said. “We enlist the store teams to keep thermostats at pre-set levels, close all walk-in coolers and freezers, and ensure that all exterior doors are closed to better manage indoor temperatures. Equipment not currently in use must be shut off.”

The company’s policy requires store managers to report all water issues via a third-party maintenance platform, and all faucets must be turned off when not in use. This helps maximize the system’s potential.

“When it comes to waste, our store employees break down and recycle cardboard boxes to divert some of our waste away from the landfills,” he added.

“We have seen savings from the energy efficiency projects implemented over the past few years,” Block said. “We’ll continue to research and analyze business cases that help reduce operating costs while managing our energy, waste and water impacts. We’re focusing much of our work this year on data analytics to better understand our overall impact.”

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Containing Utility Costs appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

NRF Applauds Circuit Court’s Dismissal of Visa/MasterCard Settlement

NRF2015After the rejection of the Visa/Mastercard settlement, the NRF hopes that real reform for swipe fees be reached.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has stated it approval of the ruling made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, which struck down the 2012 settlement of a class action lawsuit over Visa and MasterCard’s credit card swipe fees.

“This ‘settlement’ was never a settlement on behalf of the retail industry but rather a backroom deal that failed to represent the interests of retailers,” NRF senior vice president and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “It would have given merchants pennies on the dollar for the price-fixing they have suffered at the hands of the big credit card companies and would have done nothing to end price-fixing or to lower swipe fees going forward. Now it’s time to seek real reform of these still-skyrocketing fees whether it be in court or in Congress.”

“NRF challenged this settlement because it allowed Visa and MasterCard’s anti-competitive practices to continue,” Duncan said. “The court recognized this and struck them down accordingly.”

“This is not just a business-to-business dispute,” Duncan said. “These fees drive up the price of retail merchandise, costing the average family hundreds of dollars a year in added expenses.”

NRF in 2014 asked the appeals court to overturn the December 2013 approval of the settlement by U.S. District Court judge John Gleeson, saying a broad cross section of the retail industry ranging from independent Main Street stores to national chains opposed the deal.

Gleeson approved the $7.25 billion antitrust settlement even though NRF and others had argued for more than a year that it failed to reform the price-fixing system under which Visa and MasterCard set fees for credit cards issued by thousands of banks. Rather than lower the fees, the card companies proposed in the settlement that they be passed along to consumers as a surcharge. Major retailers rejected the surcharge proposal, saying it was the opposite of what they sought.

The settlement came in a 2005 lawsuit brought by 19 retailers and trade associations but 10 of the plaintiffs, including all of the associations, rejected the settlement when it was unveiled in 2012. NRF was not a plaintiff in the case but argued against it because its class action status would have imposed its terms on thousands of NRF members. NRF’s 2014 appeal noted that 19% of merchants by card volume had formally objected to the settlement and that 25% had opted out, amounting to a “Who’s Who of American merchants.”

Small retailers would have seen as little as a few hundred dollars under the settlement. Retailers who rejected the monetary settlement would have still been bound by other restrictions the court would not let them opt out of, including a prohibition on future lawsuits over the fees.

“Numerous objectors and opt-out plaintiffs argue that this class action was improperly certified and that the settlement was unreasonable and inadequate,” the appeals court wrote in today’s ruling. “We conclude that the class plaintiffs were inadequately represented.”

Credit card swipe fees average about 2% of each transaction and amounted to about $30 billion a year at the time of the settlement.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post NRF Applauds Circuit Court’s Dismissal of Visa/MasterCard Settlement appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Mondelez Bids for Hershey

MondelezCompany proposes changing its name to Hershey and relocating its global headquarters as part of the deal.

Mondelez International Inc. has placed a bid in an effort to purchase The Hershey Co.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolate bars, has sent Hershey a letter offering $107 a share—50% cash and 50% stock—for the company. The deal would require approval by the Hershey Trust.

Mondelez has said it would protect jobs, move its global headquarters to Hershey, Pa. and rename its company Hershey, if the deal is accepted, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

 

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post Mondelez Bids for Hershey appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

NATO, Pipe Tobacco Council and IPCPR Request Formal Analysis of New Deeming Regulations

Tobacco pile and cigarette

The FDA reportedly failed to perform a mandatory regulatory analysis of the new deeming regulations.

A formal request from NATO, the Pipe Tobacco Council and the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Tobacco Products.

NATO reported that the request letter asks that the FDA conduct a regulatory analysis on the impact of the provisions in the new tobacco deeming regulations that regulate tobacco retailers as manufacturers if retailers purchase bulk pipe tobacco and subsequently sell small quantities to adult consumers and/or blend pipe tobaccos in-store. Such a regulatory analysis is required by the Federal Regulatory Flexibility Act, and the request letter also recommends that the FDA delay implementation of the deeming regulations that would regulate pipe tobacco retailers as manufacturers so that the Center for Tobacco Products would have time to complete the required analysis. The letter requested a delay of at least 120 days.

NATO reported that the Federal Regulatory Flexibility Act mandates that every federal agency prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis when that agency issues final regulations. Reportedly, these analysis factors were not completed by the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products for the new deeming regulations. It is evident that the analysis was not completed because the agency stated that it was unable to determine the number of retail stores that sold pipe tobacco in small quantities or blended different pipe tobaccos together for sale.

According to the report from NATO, in order for the Center for Tobacco Products to comply with the Federal Regulatory Flexibility Act, the agency is must:

  1. Compile a description and estimate of the number of small retailers that will be impacted by the pipe retailer regulations,
  2. Draft a description of the reporting, recordkeeping and compliance requirements that retailers which sell pipe tobacco will need to comply with, and
  3. Explain the steps the FDA took to minimize the significant economic impact on small retailers including a statement of the reasons why the FDA did not accept the alternative to exempt retailers that blend less than 5,000 pounds of pipe tobacco annually from manufacturer regulatory requirements.

The FDA has been asked to respond to the formal request letter as soon as possible, since the deeming regulations are scheduled to go into effect on August 8, 2016, the.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

The post NATO, Pipe Tobacco Council and IPCPR Request Formal Analysis of New Deeming Regulations appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.