General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani to present at Bernstein 31st Annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York

Chicago, Illinois, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP, the “Company”) today announced that Sandeep Mathrani, Chief Executive Officer, will present at the Bernstein 31st Annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The live audio webcast will be available online in the Investors section of the Company’s website and at http://cc.talkpoint.com/bern001/052715a_ae/?entity=51_T3UQB32. An online replay will be available for approximately six months after the event.

General Growth Properties, Inc.
General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and redeveloping high—quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

CONTACTS:

INVESTORS
Kevin Berry
(312) 960-5529

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RILA: retailers outlined how tax collection obligations applied disparately to businesses substantially disadvantage local business and communities in DMA v. Brohl brief

Issue Currently Before The Tenth Circuit Court Of Appeals

Arlington, VA, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — ​​​In an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the case Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, retailers outlined how tax collection obligations applied disparately to businesses substantially disadvantage local business and communities. The brief was filed jointly by the Retail Litigation Center, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Colorado Retail Council.

The case relates to a market distortion reinforced by the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quill v. North Dakota. The resulting loophole allows out of state retailers to avoid the obligation to collect and remit the sales tax due on every purchase. By absolving remote sellers of an obligation required of local retailers, the loophole creates the perception of a price advantage, which ultimately costs local retailers business.

For years retailers have pressed Congress to address this issue. In the 1992 Quill decision, the Court said “… that the underlying issue is not only one that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, but also one that Congress has the ultimate power to resolve.”

While federal legislation remains under consideration, states, which have grown frustrated by a lack of action at the federal level, have passed laws aimed at addressing the inequity. However, each law is limited or faces constitutional challenges because of the precedent reiterated in Quill. In DMA v Brohl, DMA is challenging the constitutionality of a Colorado law that requires retailers that do not collect sales or use taxes to notify any Colorado customer of the state’s use tax requirement and to report tax-related information to those customers and the Colorado Department of Revenue. As a matter of policy, RILAhas not supported statutes like the Colorado law, which could surprise consumers with unexpected tax bills while failing to resolve the disparity at the point of sale. However, as a matter of constitutional law, RILAunequivocally supports the power of the states to enact reasonable measures that promote evenhanded compliance with valid tax laws.

“In the absence of final congressional action, it’s no surprise that states are moving independently to ensure fair competition for local businesses and to collect taxes rightfully owed,” said RILA General Counsel and President of the Retail Litigation Center Deborah White. “Until a complete resolution is achieved either by a comprehensive federal solution or a clarification of Supreme Court doctrine, we believe that lower courts should narrowly interpret outdated Supreme Court decisions in order to uphold state remedies.”

According to the brief:

“Because use-tax non-compliance is so quotidian, local retailers effectively operate at a massive disadvantage to their out-of-state competitors—most of whom are currently online retailers rather than the mail-order catalogs the Supreme Court considered in Quill and Bellas Hess.” As the state and local amici explain, after the recent explosion in out-of-state, online retail, the best current estimate is that the uncollected use taxes nationwide exceed $23 billion per year. This is essentially a $23 billion subsidy from state governments to online retailers, allowing them to charge their consumers less money at the point of sale than a local retailer for the exact same goods.”

“Like water finding the lowest point, online sales seem to readily flow to whatever tax-free sources are available. Accordingly, every legal barrier that prevents Colorado from effectively enforcing its complementary use tax almost certainly harms local retailers who should be able to compete for that flow of sales on level ground.

“Not only is this system plainly unfair to local retailers, it is also a rather senseless way to organize a national economy.”

The brief concludes:

“Ultimately, as Colorado has demonstrated, applying the basic principles of dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence to this case is simple: Even with the new notice and reporting regime in place, the only disadvantaged entities remain the local retailers, who face a tax collection obligation that their out-of-state counterparts do not. For that reason, it is impossible to conclude that interstate commerce has been the object of “discrimination” or placed under an “undue burden.”’

The brief, drafted by Goldstein & Russell, P.C. attorneys, Tom Goldstein and Eric Citron, can be read here.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association 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.

The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry.  The RLC, whose members include some of the country’s largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases.

Founded in 1966, the Colorado Retail Council is a not-for-profit professional trade organization that represents the retail industry throughout Colorado. CRC is comprised of a variety of retail establishments who wish to have a stronger voice in regulatory and legislative affairs.CRC’s mission is to encourage and protect a business-friendly atmosphere throughout Colorado through experienced and professional advocacy at the state legislature. CRC represents over 1500 retail locations throughout Colorado and includes six of the top-ten private employers in the state.

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Jason Brewer
Vice President, Communications and Advocacy
Phone: 703-600-2050
Email: jason.brewer@rila.org

Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live

Milton Keynes, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Homebase Garden Academy student, Nicola Oakey, is about to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live (11 – 14 June).

Nicola, who started the Academy in September 2014, successfully submitted a design for the ‘Beautiful Borders’ category of the show. The design had to be inspired by the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, so Nicola took this opportunity to celebrate the amazing pottery industry that has flourished in the area, notably Spode and Wedgewood.

“I can’t wait to bring my design to life”, said Nicola. “The Garden Academy visits Barnsdale Gardens every month to receive RHS training. It is really inspiring to spend so much time there and really fitting that it is where Geoff Hamilton filmed Gardener’s World.”

The border, although just 3x3m in size, will be packed full of exciting planting and many pottery-inspired features. An eye-catching focal point will be three Salix that have been woven into bold living columns. Their shape is reminiscent of the chimneys of bottle-oven kilns, which would have dominated the industrial skyline. Standing like living monuments to the pottery industry and the world-famous willow pattern.

If the commitment of organising a Show garden was not enough, Nicola is also going to make three bespoke stepping-stones that will cross the border. Made out of broken blue and white ceramics, the stepping stones will act as a beautiful, but poignant reminder of the factories where men, women and children tirelessly worked.

Nicola’s planting scheme is simple and elegant with hints of an English cottage garden. Her border has a blue and white colour scheme; timeless colours associated with well-known potteries and will contain bold drifts of herbaceous planting interspersed with a lush carpet of creeping groundcover.

Homebase’s Garden Academy scheme is now in its second year and is growing from strength to strength. It offers young people the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of horticulture and receive all the relevant training and support they need to pursue a career in it. The students spend a year working full time in their local Homebase Garden Centre and have monthly training from Chelsea gold medallist Adam Frost. Students also visit a wide variety of horticultural suppliers and study toward a RHS Level 1 Award qualification.

“Designing and building a Beautiful Border is a great way to learn about what it takes to build a show garden, without being overwhelmed by the size of the space,” said Nicola. “The Garden Academy is lucky enough to be helping Adam Frost build his RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden this year; an invaluable experience, which should really help me during Gardener’s World Live.”

Adam Frost, who founded the Academy alongside Homebase said: “What an amazing achievement! Nicola should be proud that her design has been selected to be displayed at BBC Gardener’s World Live, I have no doubt this is the first of many accolades she will go on to achieve.”

Gardener’s World Live attracts over 100,000 visitors and takes place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from the 11 – 14 June.

ENDS

Note to Editors:
For more information, please contact the Homebase Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email media.relations@homebase.co.uk .

Follow us @Homebase_PR.

About Homebase
Homebase is a leading home enhancement retailer with around 58 million transactions a year, selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden. It has 296 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2015, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 17,000 people across the business.

Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

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Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live

Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live

Argos digital stores open in Sainsbury’s supermarkets

LONDON, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — The first two Argos digital stores are opening today (Wednesday 27th May) in Sainsbury’s supermarkets in North Cheam in Surrey and Nantwich in Cheshire, bringing extra choice and convenience to customers in the local communities.

This follows the announcement in January about the retailers teaming up to open 10 new Argos digital stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets this summer.

The smaller, new format Argos digital stores offer all the most popular products that customers want for immediate pick up with 20,000 products available for pick up within a few hours at the store*, ranging from tables to tablets to toys.

The new stores will be around 1,000 square feet with other stores opening over the summer ranging in size up to 5,000 square feet. All 10 locations are now confirmed to open over summer 2015.

Sainsbury’s Retail & Operations Director, Roger Burnley, said: “This partnership with Argos is one of a series of steps we are taking to ensure we continue to offer our customers a wide range of products at great value and to make their shopping more convenient. We are looking forward to working with Argos to ensure the best availability and shopping experience for our customers.”

Argos Director of Retail and Customer Operations, Steve Carson, said: “Working with Sainsbury’s will help us to bring the convenience of the Argos offer to more customers. This is the first time we have had stores in these specific locations. I’m delighted to bring our very latest digital stores to customers inside their local Sainsbury’s. I am particularly pleased with how our teams have worked together to make sure customers have the best experience of this very new partnership.”

The new stores are equipped for shopping in the digital age, with tablets that mirror the online shopping experience and staff on hand to help. Around half of Argos’ total sales now start online, but 90% of customers will visit one of 755 stores to pick up their goods.

The ten locations are:

  • Nantwich
  • North Cheam
  • West Hove
  • Crayford
  • Calcot
  • Bognor Regis
  • Durham
  • Rustington
  • Drumchapel
  • Keighley

*Order by 1pm for collection the same day from 4pm.

1Home Retail Group Annual Report 2015

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Argos digital stores open in Sainsbury’s supermarkets

Argos digital stores open in Sainsbury’s supermarkets

Starbucks baristas in China and Japan celebrated coffee artistry through competitions in pour-over brewing and latte art

Coffee is at the core of everything Starbucks does.

SEATTLE, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — From sourcing and roasting to crafting and innovating, Starbucks partners (employees) are passionate about brewing and handcrafting the world’s best coffee beverages. Starbucks baristas in China and Japan recently celebrated coffee artistry through competitions in pour-over brewing and latte art.

The Starbucks coffee journey began in Asia nearly 20 years ago, with the company’s first store outside of North America opening in Tokyo in 1996, followed later in 1999 with the first store at the Beijing World Trade Centre. It started with the introduction of a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, followed by educating customers on the joy and indulgence of enjoying a handcrafted cup of espresso beverage, such as the Café Latte and Café Mocha.

Today, customers in Japan and China have even more ways to enjoy their favorite cup of Starbucks coffee – through pour-over brewing or latte art – at more than 1,000 stores and more than 1,600 stores in Japan and China, respectively.

Craftsmanship and Artistry in Each Cup of Starbucks Coffee

“Every cup of Starbucks coffee, whether it’s our fresh brew or an espresso beverage, starts with sourcing the finest coffees from around the world. By extending our offerings to include the pour-over and latte art, we are showcasing these quality ingredients in a full-flavored coffee beverage,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China.  “More significantly, the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into each cup of Starbucks pour-over or latte art is highlighted in an exceptional way. We are excited to share this experience with our customers in China.”

Most recently, Starbucks wrapped up the final event of its Starbuck China Third Annual Latte Art Throwdown Tour and Second Annual Pour-Over Competition, which covered six cities, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xian, Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. A total of 79 Starbucks China baristas competed in the competitions.

The idea of the tour and competitions began about three years ago as a way to build excitement and momentum around the launch of latte art as a standard offering in China.  Today, the tour and the competition leading up to these events has become a celebration of partners’ coffee artistry and genuine passion for coffee.

“It was especially symbolic that while a group of our China partners were in Sumatra experiencing the ‘first 10 feet’ of the coffee bean journey, this competition was celebrating the work that our partners do every day to deliver the ‘last 10 feet’,” said Jeff Miller, vice president, retail and operations, Starbucks China. “I am certain that if the farmers could see how our baristas honor their work through the care they put into brewing these coffees, whether in a latte or a cup of pour-over, they would be as proud as we are.”

The top four winners from each Starbucks China region will travel later this year to Chengdu to attend the Starbucks China National Latte Art and Pour-Over competitions.  These events will coincide with the China Coffee Ambassador Cup, where the winner will be crowned Starbucks China Coffee Ambassador, representing the pinnacle of coffee expertise.

“As the leading coffee company in China, I am so excited to represent my North China region partners at this national competition. This is a dream come true for me and a firm demonstration of our dedication to only deliver the perfect Starbucks coffee beverage to our customers every time they visit our stores,” added Kevin Zhang from the Starbucks Beijing Kerry Center flagship store.

Coffee Has Become an Important Part of ‘the Japanese way of life’

In Japan, Starbucks partners also challenged each other and showcased their coffee passion and talent with the best baristas at the Starbucks Coffee Japan Annual Leadership Conference. As part of this gathering, Starbucks hosted the second “We Connect Cup” – a competition to demonstrate and highlight how Starbucks partners exercise the best services, operation, and connections with customers.

“Since the opening of our first store in Ginza, coffee has become such an important part of the Japanese way of life,” said Jun Sekine, ceo, Starbucks Coffee Japan. “Over the past 19 years, our baristas have been pulling perfect espresso beverages for our customers, sharing our passion for the world’s most premium Starbucks Reserve coffee, and building individual moments of connections with customers. We want to continue to elevate their coffee experience whenever they come to a Starbucks store.”

At the second We Connect Cup competition, Starbucks Coffee Japan partners from 13 regions pit their coffee skills and expertise in three categories – operational excellence, beverage routine and service basics.

“It’s by perfecting these three combinations that will make Starbucks world class customer service vision a reality in Japan,” added Masayo Mameta, partner at the Starbucks Fukuoka University Hospital store.

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom.

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Starbucks baristas in China and Japan celebrated coffee artistry through competitions in pour-over brewing and latte art

Starbucks baristas in China and Japan celebrated coffee artistry through competitions in pour-over brewing and latte art