Kesko: Youth Guarantee in the K-Group programme achieved target six months ahead of the deadline

By the beginning of June, Kesko and K-stores have employed a total of 1,188 young people in the target group of the Youth Guarantee in different parts of Finland. The Youth Guarantee in the K-Group programme was launched last year aiming to employ 1,000 young people by the end of 2014. The target was achieved six months ahead of the deadline.

Helsinki, Finland, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Most of the youths found employment during August 2013 – May 2014 at K-food stores. Young people have also been given jobs by Intersport, Kesport, Musta Pörssi, Kookenkä, K-rauta, Rautia and K-maatalous, VV-Auto, Keslog, Anttila and Kesko. The programme has been most successful in the Greater Helsinki area, Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Savo.

–  The Youth Guarantee works when there is willingness to invest in it. We achieved the target well ahead of the deadline, because K-retailers and Kesko with its subsidiaries were strongly committed to employing young people. Close and smooth cooperation between employers and the Employment and Economic Development Centres has also been central for the success, says Matti Mettälä, Senior Vice President responsible for Kesko’s Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations.

Close cooperation with employment authorities

Kesko’s Board of Directors granted €100,000 for the launch of the programme in 2013. The amount enabled, among other things, a project coordinator to be hired by the K-Group to act as a liaison between K-retailers, Kesko and the Employment and Economic Development Centre.

As the programme has advanced, operating models have been developed for the different parties in order for employment to take place fast. For example, the Employment and Economic Development Centres now have contact persons assigned to assist the K-Group employers to find the most suitable young people for the jobs. They also help in the wage subsidy process in order that employment takes place at the agreed time.

Tarja Mäntykoski, the retailer of K-market Viljami in Peräseinäjoki, is satisfied with the support she has received. She has employed two young people to work at her store with the help of the Youth Guarantee.

– This is definitely a very good system for providing employment to young people. My experiences of the Youth Guarantee are only positive. It does not involve any complicated bureaucracy, says Mäntykoski.

For many youths, work experience form a K-store is an important springboard into working life. Joni Yliviitala, working at Intersport Ruoholahti in Helsinki, is happy about the job he got with the help of the Sanssi card.

–  I had applied for nearly 20 different jobs before I got this. The Employment and Economic Development Centre had given me a Sanssi card, which had not been useful until the job interview for this job, says Joni Yliviitala.

The K-Group employs around 45,000 people in eight countries and 20,000 of them are less than 30 years old. Kesko and K-retailers employ approximately 30,000 people in Finland, around 20,000 of whom are employed by K-retailer entrepreneurs. During the past eight months, the K-Group has employed a total of 5,000 young people.

Further information:
Matti Mettälä, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations, Kesko Corporation, tel. +358 105 322 200

Johanna Kinnunen, Project Coordinator, K-Retailers’ Association, tel. +358 503 427 860

H&M Group announces 19% increase in May 2014 total sales including VAT compared to the same month last year

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — In May 2014, the H&M Group total sales including VAT increased by 19 percent in local currencies compared to the same month last year.

Sales in May were positively affected by calendar effects of approximately 3 – 4 percentage points.
In June, this will be reversed, i.e. sales will be affected by negative calendar effects of 3 – 4 percentage points.

In the second quarter of 2014, i.e. during period 1 March to 31 May, sales including VAT increased by 16 percent in local currencies.

Sales including VAT in the second quarter converted into SEK amounted to SEK 44,181* m (36,923).
Sales excluding VAT amounted to SEK 37,827* m (31,635).

The total number of stores amounted to 3,285 on 31 May 2014 versus 2,908 on 31 May 2013.

Percentage sales development for the month of June will be published on 15 July 2014.

* The amounts are provisional and may deviate slightly from the Interim Report that will be released on 18 June 2014.

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO

Contact person: Nils Vinge, Head of IR +46-8-796 5250
The information in this press release is that which H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) is required to disclose under Sweden’s Securities Market Act. It was released for publication at 08.00 (CET) on 11 June 2014.
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. The company’s business concept is to offer fashion and quality at the best price. In addition to H&M, the Group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories as well as H&M Home. The H&M Group has more than 3,200 stores in 54 markets. In 2013, sales including VAT were approximately SEK 150 billion. The number of employees amounts to more than 116,000.
For further information, visit hm.com.

Lowe’s advances retail innovation with the introduction of Lowe’s Innovation Labs and its first project the augmented reality concept Lowe’s Holoroom

Augmented reality project planning experience is first concept from newly-formed Lowe’s Innovation Labs

MOORESVILLE, N.C., 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, Lowe’s underscored its commitment to advancing retail innovation as it introduced Lowe’s Innovation Labs and the first concept to come out of the lab, the Lowe’s Holoroom. Lowe’s created Lowe’s Innovation Labs to build new technology to solve common consumer frustrations while working alongside start-ups, universities, specialized professionals and other companies.

“We know that for many homeowners, the struggle to visualize a completed home improvement project or to share that vision with others can stop a project in its tracks,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “The Holoroom is our solution, enabling consumers to visualize their project and share that vision with family and friends.”

The Lowe’s Holoroom is a home improvement simulator which applies 3-D and augmented reality technologies to provide homeowners an intuitive, immersive experience in the room of their dreams.

A customer will begin by choosing their preferred products before viewing and experiencing those products in the Holoroom. While in the Holoroom, they can make changes to the room design or finalize their plan with confidence. A take-home printout will allow customers to view a 3-D model of their room at home, and share the model with family and friends, by downloading a free app available on iOS or Droid devices.

“Lowe’s wants to lead innovation by developing disruptive technologies that will help us establish a long-term competitive advantage,” said Nel. “Lowe’s Innovation Labs will allow us to quickly bring in new technology and new partners, explore a wide range of possibilities and identify opportunities to develop concepts like the Holoroom.”

The Lab is on the forefront of bringing together unexpected partners to imagine the seemingly impossible and breathe life into solutions that create new experiences for consumers through technology, such as the Lowe’s Holoroom. SciFutures, a foresight and innovation consultancy, partnered with Lowe’s during the development of the Holoroom and is one example of the uncommon partnerships Lowe’s is cultivating.

“We use the power of science fiction narratives to predict future possibilities and explain complex technologies in a way everyone can understand,” said Ari Popper, founder and co-CEO of SciFutures. “Using this science fiction prototyping process we collaborated with Lowe’s to see the world could look like, and their determination to bring that vision to life led to the Holoroom.”

The Lowe’s Holoroom will be introduced in select Toronto stores in 2014, and equipped with thousands of products to help customers plan a bathroom remodel. Additional product categories and rooms will be added to the Holoroom to help plan projects throughout the home over the next 12 to 18 months. Lowe’s Innovation Labs will share updates on the Lowe’s Holoroom as well as future initiatives on Twitter at twitter.com/loweslabs.

About Lowe’s
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 100 home improvement company serving approximately 15 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With fiscal year 2013 sales of $53.4 billion, Lowe’s has more than 1,830 home improvement and hardware stores and 260,000 employees. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. For more information, visit Lowes.com.

Contact:

Amanda Manna
Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
(704) 758-2184
amanda.d.manna@lowes.com

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Lowe’s advances retail innovation with the introduction of Lowe’s Innovation Labs and its first project the augmented reality concept Lowe’s Holoroom

Lowe’s advances retail innovation with the introduction of Lowe’s Innovation Labs and its first project the augmented reality concept Lowe’s Holoroom

Lowe’s advances retail innovation with the introduction of Lowe’s Innovation Labs and its first project the augmented reality concept Lowe’s Holoroom

Lowe’s advances retail innovation with the introduction of Lowe’s Innovation Labs and its first project the augmented reality concept Lowe’s Holoroom

Delhaize Group completes the divestment of its Bulgarian operations to AP Mart

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Delhaize Group announces today that it has completed the divestment of its Bulgarian operations to AP Mart.

Delhaize Group 
Delhaize Group is a Belgian international food retailer present in eight countries on three continents. At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Delhaize Group´s sales network consisted of 3 520 stores. In 2013, Delhaize Group posted €20.9 billion in revenues and €179 million in net profit (Group share). At the end of 2013, Delhaize Group employed approximately 160 000 people. Delhaize Group’s stock is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels (DELB) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEG).

This press release is available in English, French and Dutch. You can also find it on the website http://www.delhaizegroup.com. Questions can be sent to investor@delhaizegroup.com.

Contacts
Investor Relations: + 32 2 412 2151
Media Relations: + 32 2 412 8669

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Statements that are included or incorporated by reference in this press release and other written and oral statements made from time to time by Delhaize Group and its representatives, other than statements of historical fact, which address activities, events and developments that Delhaize Group expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, the financial flexibility that will result from the sale of Piccaddilly to AP Mart; the ultimate value of the transaction to Delhaize Group after working capital adjustments, the expected effect of the portfolio optimization, strategic options, future strategies and the anticipated benefits of these strategies, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified as statements that include phrases such as “guidance,” “outlook,” “projected,” “believe,” “target,” “predict,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “strategy,” “may,” “goal,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “foresee,” “likely,” “will,” “should” or other similar words or phrases. Although such statements are based on current information, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those projected depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, changes in the general economy or the markets of Delhaize Group, in strategy, in consumer spending, in inflation or currency exchange rates or in legislation or regulation; competitive factors; adverse determination with respect to claims; inability to timely develop, remodel, integrate, open, convert or close stores; and supply or quality control problems with vendors. Additional risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements are described in Delhaize Group’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F and other filings made by Delhaize Group with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. Delhaize Group disclaims any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments.

Delhaize Belgium to implement transformation plan

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Delhaize Belgium issued a press release this morning announcing the intention to implement a transformation plan. Please find in attachment the original press release. The presentation shown during a press conference taking place later today will be available on the Delhaize Group website as from 11.00 CET.

» Delhaize Group

Delhaize Group is a Belgian international food retailer present in eight countries on three continents. At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Delhaize Group’s sales network consisted of 3 520 stores. In 2013, Delhaize Group posted €20.9 billion ($27.8 billion) in revenues and €179 million ($237 million) in net profit (Group share). At the end of 2013, Delhaize Group employed approximately 160 000 people. Delhaize Group’s stock is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels (DELB) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEG).

 

» Contacts

Investor Relations: + 32 2 412 2151

Media Relations – Group: + 32 2 412 8669

Media Relations – Delhaize Belgium: +32 2 412 84 51

cautionary note regarding forward looking statements
Statements that are included or incorporated by reference in this press release and other written and oral statements made from time to time by Delhaize Group and its representatives, other than statements of historical fact, which address activities, events and developments that Delhaize Group expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, anticipated savings from any restructurings, anticipated investments in Delhaize Group’s operations in  Belgium, timing or savings from store closures, and the anticipated benefits from any new strategies and operating profit guidance, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified as statements that include phrases such as “guidance,” “outlook,” “projected,” “believe,” “target,” “predict,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “strategy,” “may,” “goal,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “foresee,” “likely,” “will,” “should” or other similar words or phrases. Although such statements are based on current information, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those projected depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, negotiations with unions; disruptions to business caused by strikes; changes in the general economy or the markets of Delhaize Group, in strategy, in consumer spending, in inflation or currency exchange rates or in legislation or regulation; competitive factors; and supply or quality control problems with vendors. Additional risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements are described in Delhaize Group’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F and other filings made by Delhaize Group with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. Delhaize Group disclaims any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments.

 

BRC-KPMG ONLINE RETAIL SALES MONITOR MAY 2014: Online sales of Non-Food products in UK grew 17.0% in May versus a year earlier

LONDON, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 17.0% in May versus a year earlier. In May 2013, they had increased by 9.9% over the previous year. This is the highest online growth recorded since our records started in December 2012, excluding Christmas and New Year.

In May, online sales represented 18.7% of total Non-Food sales of our Monitor, against 17.0% in May 2013. May’s penetration is the second-highest recorded by our monitor, after last November.

The Other Non-Food category contributed over half of the growth. Clothing reported its highest growth since Christmas, and Footwear since December 2012.

Online sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales. Over the last three months, Online represented one third of the total Non-Food growth.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “Britain’s fashion retailers are leading the way in developing their digital offering for discerning customers and that is really paying off in resulting sales figures. This month sees the highest growth in online sales of clothing for five months and the proportion of purchases we are making online has grown several percentage points in a year. This also represents the highest penetration ever recorded for Clothing since the inception of the online monitor. Footwear is telling a similar story where great websites and good online service have led to the second-highest proportion of footwear sales online ever recorded by our monitor.

“The overall strong performance is underpinned by the broadening of the ranges available online, from game consoles to garden furniture. For clothing and footwear we’re seeing a marked shift towards the seasonal ranges of lightweight jerseys, sandals, canvas shoes and outdoor wear while products with a World Cup theme are starting to sell across all gender and age groups.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “Online sales surged ahead in May, driving a third of non-food sales growth for retailers over the quarter and underscoring the importance of having a strong multichannel business. As the shift to online slowly continues, retailers must invest in analysing the data they are gathering about their online customers and use this to improve their total proposition.

“The rise of online gives retailers the opportunity to have unbridled insight into consumer shopping habits and it’s vital they take advantage of this and use it to inform their business strategy.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

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BRC-KPMG RETAIL SALES MONITOR MAY 2014: UK retail sales up 0.5% on like-for-like basis from May 2013

LONDON, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — UK retail sales were up 0.5% on a like-for-like basis from May 2013, when they had increased 1.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.0%, against a 3.4% rise in May 2013.

Clothing was the best performing category, reporting its highest growth since December 2011, while Food was the lowest, reporting a decline in total terms.

The 3-month average year-on-year change for Food was -0.2% in total, turning negative for the first time since our record began in 2008, excluding Easter distortions. For Non-Food, the 3-month average was 4.3%, ahead of the 12-month trend of 3.8%.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 17.0% in May versus a year earlier. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 18.7% in May, the second highest recorded, after last November.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “This quarter sees overall growth in the retail economy with non-food items accelerating: their three-month average growth was 4.3 per cent against the twelve-month figure of 3.8 per cent.

“Customers took advantage of great summer fashion ranges and clothing sales had their best results since December 2011, performing better than any other category. There is also strong momentum in big ticket sales such as consoles and televisions as customers feel confident enough in the economy to make purchases that had been on hold, waiting for economic recovery.

“But there is a very clear pattern in food sales emerging where customers continue to be discerning in search of value. Supermarkets are providing great quality food in a very competitive market and this shows in the three-month average food growth, which turned negative for the first time since our records began in 2008 (excluding Easter distortions). Let’s hope this rebalancing will eventually be rewarding for retailers.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “The recovery is gaining pace in the retail sector, but the latest figures reveal the scale of the paradox that has emerged. While non-food retailers are seeing steady sales growth, the grocers appear locked in a race to the bottom, imposing price cut after price cut to maintain their sales volumes. This price war is hindering the retail sector’s overall recovery, which without the effects of these cuts would have seen like for like sales growth outpace inflation over the last quarter.

“With Easter distortions now behind us, the non-food sector is showing encouraging signs of growth with total sales growing by more than 4 per cent over the last quarter. Clothing and footwear led the charge, although furniture and flooring sales are also encouragingly higher than inflation for the quarter. Consumer confidence can still be fickle, but the response to targeted campaigns has been positive. Retailers are investing in their businesses and planning for further growth at home and abroad.

“The main barrier to recovery is now the grocers’ battle over price. The deflationary effect of these prolonged discounting campaigns, whilst good for consumers, is feeding through to the grocers’ margins and share values. The constant price matching brings into question the long term value of the grocers’ brands and positioning, but in the short term is providing the UK consumer with plenty of options.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

 

Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities

SaskatoonSaskatchewan, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Along with increasing the storage capacity and the efficiency of the distribution network, Co-op’s new corporate bulk plant (CBP) program is setting new standards for environmental, safety and security features.

“They’re more efficient facilities, they’re more environmentally responsible and they’re more secure and safe for operation,” said Kris Bradshaw, petroleum operations and development manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited.

Bradshaw said the bulk plants currently in operation under the old standards remain industry-leading facilities, but are “not up to the standards we want to see.” The 23 bulk fuel plants already constructed, and the 52 more to be constructed in the next five years, have standards anticipating future requirements.

Storage and containment systems

The larger 147,700-litre tanks are set above ground and have two bottoms separated by a space with vacuum monitoring to provide an early identification if failure in either of the two tank bottom layers were to occur.  Additionally, the new tanks are constructed with a bottom manway, which allows access for internal inspection and repair of the tank bottoms if required in the future.

Tanks are placed in a secondary containment dyke lined with a synthetic, hydrocarbon-resistant liner that provides the secondary containment. A second liner membrane is set below the primary liner allowing monitoring capabilities between the liners to warn of any leaks in the secondary containment system.  This essentially provides a tertiary level of containment.

“These redundant layers of containment allow us to evaluate, identify and repair a potential problem with our containment systems prior to having a physical release” said Bradshaw. “So if we were to have a tank leak or a line leak within that containment berm, we are confident that the containment system is fully functional.”

Previous containment involved a single-bottom tank set in a containment dyke with a geo-synthetic clay liner system. This style of liner system was the best available product when the standards for our last round of bulk plants were constructed 20 years ago and FCL has now adjusted again to the best available industry standard.

Another environmental measure in place is in the receiving and load out areas. In the event of spills in the fuel transfer areas, the graded concrete pad helps direct the drainage into a catch basin, which is tied to an underground oil-water separator. The oil-water separator enhances the separation of petroleum products from the water, retaining the petroleum within the separator tank and allowing the clean water to discharge to the storm water system.  The petroleum product can then be recovered and removed from the separator tank for proper disposal.

Safety and security

The new bulk fuel facilities are enclosed within fenced compounds and the entire site is monitored by network of security cameras. The sites are well-lit for operational safety for both Co-op employees and Co-op customers, while causing minimal to no disruption to passing motorists or the use of neighbouring properties.

In the past, bulk plants used a top loading system to fill delivery trucks. Drivers were required to wear respiratory protection to prevent exposure to fuel vapours, there was potential for falls and there was increased risk of overfills and spills as a result of potential undue attention.  The new facilities are equipped with bottom loading and automatic shut-off systems.  Drivers will now be able to safely load from the ground level and fill multiple compartments at the same time and at faster individual rates – 2,200 litres per minute compared to 500 litres per minute previously.

“(Drivers are) on the ground and not climbing on top of the truck,” Bradshaw explained. “Another advantage is we have decreased our loading time from an average of 40 minutes before to about 10 minutes now.”

These are just a few of the features that ensure the Co-op maintains its social and environmental responsibility to employees, member-owners and communities. These features, along with continued improvements to training and operational procedures, will help the CRS remain the industry leader for safe, responsible bulk fuel operations, providing quality service to customers.

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Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities

Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to support amendment to stop micro-unions

Flawed NLRB Decision Balkanizes Workplaces And Undermines Flexibility And Advance Never For Workers.

Arlington, VA, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to support an amendment to be offered by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) designed to stop efforts of the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) to fragment workplaces through the application of the micro-union decision from 2011.

The amendment is expected to be offered Thursday, during the full-committee mark-up of the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Senator Graham offered a similar amendment last year during mark-up of the FY 2014 bill.

“RILA applauds the continued efforts of Senator Graham and encourages the Committee to support this important amendment,” said Bill Hughes, executive vice president of government affairs. “The Graham amendment slows the application of the micro-union decision, allowing time for due process to consider the issue and preventing the proliferation of the unnecessary conflict and complexity micro-unions inject into the retail workforce. This amendment will benefit employees and customers alike.”

Micro-unions are a result of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, in which the NLRB redefined what could be considered a proper bargaining unit. Pushed by the NLRB in spite of a half-century’s worth of precedent, the novel interpretation allows union organizers to gerrymander a workplace, cherry-picking groups of employees within a larger workforce to form micro-unions.

Since 2011, the NLRB has expanded the application of the rule, which initially only applied to non-acute health care facilities, to other industries, including retail, certifying units consisting of the second and fifth floor women’s shoe department at a Bergdorf Goodman store, and the cosmetics and fragrance department at a Macy’s department store.

“Micro-unions detract from the variety and flexibility that makes retail positions attractive to employees and inhibits the cross-training and nimbleness that forms the foundation of the customer service experience,” added Hughes. “Furthermore, at a time when the economy is starting to turn the corner, introducing the uncertainty and challenges associated with micro-unions to more industries will stunt growth and jeopardize more jobs.”

RILA plans to join with other organizations in a letter to the full committee urging its support of Senator Graham’s amendment and encouraging thoughtful consideration of the challenges posed by the NLRB’s actions on this matter.

The complete letter, sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member today, can be read here.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
EVP, Communications & Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association comments on Ways & Means Joint Hearing On The Verification Of Income And Insurance Information Under The Affordable Care Act

Arlington, VA, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to the Ways & Means Joint Hearing on the Verification of Income and Insurance Information Under the Affordable Care Act. Final employer reporting requirements issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) require retailers to provide the IRS with a tremendous amount of employee information on a monthly and annual basis. Compliance for retailers will be complex and deeply burdensome, and will ultimately flood the IRS with a mass of information of dubious value. Additionally, the information required to be collected does not create an effective way to administer premium assistance tax credits to individuals or to minimize the prospects of employees being subjected to repayment of advanced premium assistance tax credits in cases in which Exchanges made an inaccurate eligibility determination.

“Retailers remain concerned that individuals may mistakenly be approved for tax credits through the healthcare Exchanges based upon inaccurate information about their employer-sponsored coverage satisfying the law’s employer mandate.

“There are ways to ease the transition to compliance for individuals, employers, Exchanges and the IRS. Pre-certifying an employer plan would lessen the confusion of Exchange tax credit eligibility and lessen the likelihood of individuals being on the hook for incorrect tax credits. RILA supports the idea of enabling employers to pre-certify on a government website or portal that at least one of their plans meets the employer mandate,” said Christine Pollack, Vice President of Government Affairs.

Background:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the final rules for the ACA’s reporting requirements on March 5. Under these requirements, employers must compile monthly and report annually numerous data points to the IRS and their own employees. This data will be used to verify the individual and employer mandates under the law, and administer premium tax credits for coverage in Exchanges/Marketplaces.

Over the last several years, RILA noted to the Treasury Department and IRS numerous times that the collection and remittance of the data required under these reporting requirements will be an extremely daunting task for retailers. Unfortunately, the final rules did little to streamline this administratively complicated and burdensome system. While the rules allow for combined reporting for these requirements, they do nothing to ease the burdens of the amount of data that is required to be collected and reported. RILA and the E-Flex Coalition provided extensive policy recommendations to the Administration but the IRS chose not to incorporate these ideas. As such, RILA is advocating for legislative solutions on Capitol Hill to amend these requirements.

A less expansive approach to information reporting can achieve the same ends with fewer burdens to employees and employers. RILA and the E-FLEX Coalition strongly support regulatory and legislative changes to the ACA’s information reporting requirements that would:

  • Give employers the option of prospectively reporting to the IRS information about coverage offered to employees to help increase the accuracy of determinations of eligibility for Exchange tax credits on the front end of the process and reduce the volume of reporting on the back end
  • Replace much of the year-end reporting by employers with more streamlined reporting methods such as a general certification process or an exceptions-based reporting system based on the number of employees who receive tax credits
  • Protect privacy by eliminating the requirement for employers to collect and remit dependents’ Social Security numbers

Contact:

Allie Brandenburger
Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org