BRC supports the e-commerce proposals from the European Commission

LONDON, 2016-May-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — The BRC represents many e-commerce retailers, including both omni-channel and pure players.

The E-commerce proposals from the European Commission issued today (Geoblocking Regulation; revised Consumer Protection Co-operation – CPC- Regulation; Parcels Delivery Regulation; new Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Guidance) complement those in the Online Contracts Directives that are already being discussed in the Institutions and which the BRC has broadly supported.

The Geoblocking proposal is seen by the Commission as one of the keys for its strategy to expand e-commerce throughout the single market by providing both business and consumers with a better basis for their transactions.
The proposal makes it a requirement that every website should be open to access by consumers everywhere in the EU and that any consumer anywhere in the EU should be able to make a purchase from that website on the same terms and conditions and price as a consumer in the Home State of the retailer for delivery to the normal delivery area of the business.

This should overcome the debate over whether a business is obliged to sell AND deliver to all consumers and the consumer protection law that applies when a business in one Member State sells to a consumer in another Member State without actually targeting consumers in that Member State. The confusion in this area has resulted in uncertainty for businesses and consumers alike.

It also confirms that a product legally on sale in one Member State can legally be sold to a consumer in another Member State.

And it makes clear that access to a website does not imply the trader is actively targeting consumers in another Member State – and thus becoming subject to the rules and regulations of that Member State.
As long as this is legally watertight, this should help all those businesses that have been reluctant to dip a toe in the water.

However, we would wish to emphasise that very many BRC members are already actively selling to consumers not just in the rest of the EU but in many other countries besides. BRC surveys show 66 billion pages of UK retail websites were read in March alone and there was a year on year increase in hits on UK retail websites from all Member States except Estonia with an average of a 52% increase across the whole EU.

This demonstrates that in fact e-commerce is growing year on year and that cross border sales are growing year on year. So while we welcome the Commission initiative, we also stress that the real expansion and growth is happening through the actions of retail entrepreneurs serving the desires of consumers without the need for interference from Europe or the UK.

For media enquiries:
zoe.maddison@brc.org.uk
T: +44 (0)207 854 8924

Couche-Tard received approval from the European Commission to acquire Shell’s downstream retail business in Denmark

Laval, Québec, Canada, 2016-Mar-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (“Couche-Tard”) (TSX: ATD.A / ATD.B) announces that it has received approval today from the European Commission for its deal to acquire A/S Dansk Shell’s downstream retail business in Denmark, subject to divestment commitments. Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur in May 2016. It will be financed from Couche-Tard’s available cash and existing credit facilities.

In March 2015, Couche-Tard announced an agreement with A/S Dansk Shell to acquire its Retail, Commercial Fuels and Aviation businesses in Denmark. Shell’s Danish Retail business comprises 315 sites, of which 225 are full-service stations, 75 are unmanned automated fuel stations and 15 are truck stops. Of the 315 sites, 140 are owned by Shell, 115 are leased from third parties and 60 are dealer-owned.

Since then, Couche-Tard has worked closely with the European Commission with the aim of obtaining approval for the transaction as compatible with Europe’s internal market and with the European Economic Area Agreement. Couche-Tard today announces that it has received approval to retain 131 sites, of which 90 are owned and 41 are leased from third parties. Of these 131 sites, 74 are full-service stations, 49 are unmanned automated fuel stations and 8 are truck stops.

Subsequent to this transaction, Couche-Tard’s network in Denmark would include a total of 286 company operated-stores, 153 company-owned and dealer operated and 44 dealer owned and dealer operated. Included therein are 211 unmanned automated sites.

Couche-Tard has proposed to divest a mix of both its current sites and Shell-branded stations, including the Shell/7-Eleven network and Shell’s dealer-owned network. In addition, Couche-Tard has proposed to divesting A/S Dansk Shell’s commercial and aviation fuels businesses.

Couche-Tard, through its wholly-owned indirect Danish subsidiary Statoil Fuel & Retail A/S, has signed an agreement for the sale of the divested assets with DCC Holding A/S, a subsidiary of DCC plc. Pending the customary regulatory approvals, this transaction is expected to close during the second half of fiscal 2017. Until approval and completion of this transaction, Couche-Tard and the divested businesses will continue to operate separately.

Today is a great day for Couche-Tard in Denmark,” says Jacob Schram, Couche-Tard’s Group President Europe. “The acquisition from Dansk Shell puts us in a strong position in the Danish market – a core market for Couche-Tard in Europe.”

Hans-Olav Høidahl, SVP Scandinavia, Statoil Fuel & Retail says, “Shell operates an attractive network in Denmark. Combining our operations will give us the opportunity to create a winning unmanned offering and develop an unrivalled full-service and convenience offering in Denmark.” Høidahl continues, “The divestment package allows us to concentrate on operations that are in line with our business model, extending our reach to additional, desirable areas of the market while reducing site overlap.”

Plesner, Euclid Law and Oxera have acted as economic advisors to Couche-Tard for this transaction.

Profile
Couche-Tard is the leader in the Canadian convenience store industry. In the United States, it is the largest independent convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores. In Europe, Couche-Tard is a leader in convenience store and road transportation fuel retail in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries with a significant presence in Poland.

As of January 31, 2016, Couche-Tard’s network comprised 7,979 convenience stores throughout North America, including 6,560 stores offering road transportation fuel. Its North-American network consists of 15 business units, including 11 in the United States covering 41 states and four in Canada covering all ten provinces. About 80,000 people are employed throughout its network and at its service offices in North America.

In Europe, Couche-Tard operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), Poland, the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Russia. As of January 31, 2016, it comprised 2,218 stores, the majority of which offer road transportation fuel and convenience products while the others are unmanned automated fuel stations. Couche-Tard also offers other products, including stationary energy, marine fuel and chemicals. Couche-Tard operates key fuel terminals and fuel depots in six European countries. Including employees at franchise stations carrying its brands, about 19,000 people work in its retail network, terminals and service offices across Europe. Since its acquisition of Topaz Energy Group Limited on February 1, 2016, Couche-Tard also operates a convenience and fuel retailing network comprised of 444 service stations in Ireland as well as a significant commercial fuels operation, with over 30 depots and two terminals

In addition, around 1,500 stores are operated by independent operators under the Circle K banner in 13 other countries or regions worldwide (China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guam, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam).

Contacts:

Investor Relations
Claude Tessier, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: 450-662-6632, ext. 4607
claude.tessier@couche-tard.com

Media relations
Karen Romer, Director Global Communications
Tel: +1 (514) 603- 4505 / +47 950 74 950
karen.romer@couche-tard.com

Forward Looking Statements
The statements set forth in this press release, which describes Couche-Tard’s objectives, projections, estimates, expectations or forecasts, may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation. Positive or negative verbs such as ”believe”, “could”, “should”, “intend”, “expect”, ”estimate”, “assume” and other related expressions are used to identify such statements. Couche-Tard would like to point out that, by their very nature, forwardlooking statements involve risks and uncertainties such that its results, or the measures it adopts, could differ materially from those indicated or underlying these statements, or could have an impact on the degree of realization of a particular projection. Major factors that may lead to a material difference between Couche-Tard’s actual results and the projections or expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements include the effects of the integration of acquired businesses and the ability to achieve projected synergies, fluctuations in margins on motor fuel sales, competition in the convenience store and retail motor fuel industries, exchange rate variations, and such other risks as described in detail from time to time in the reports filed by Couche-Tard with securities authorities in Canada and the United States. Unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, Couche-Tard disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking information in this release is based on information available as of the date of the release.

SOURCE:  Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

Kingfisher supports fight to stop illegal wood and products made with it from being sold on European markets

LONDON, 2016-Mar-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — As a long-term advocate of protecting the world’s forests, Kingfisher welcomes the news that the European Commission has recognised there is a problem preventing the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) from fulfilling its purpose.

The EUTR was introduced in 2013 to prevent illegal wood (and products made with illegal wood or paper) being put on the European market. Doing so lessens demand for illegal wood and makes sustainable forestry management more attractive, which protects our forests.

The problem is that the regulation isn’t currently doing what it was designed to do. This is because each European Member State has been interpreting the regulation differently and this inconsistency can lead to unfair market distortion.

That’s why Kingfisher and a number of like-minded retailers including IKEA, M&S and Carrefour are part of the Timber Retail Coalition (TRC). We have together engaged the European Commission to understand why the EUTR isn’t currently working and what needs to happen to enable it to do what it was intended to do – stop illegal wood and wood-derived products from being sold on European markets.

Whilst it is very welcome news that the Commission has listened to what we have said and it is an important milestone to be celebrated, there is now much more that needs to happen. We are recommending three things:

  1. Uniform enforcement of the EUTR across all Member States to harmonise implementation and remove distortion in the market.
  2. Sustainable forestry certification schemes (such as FSC) to be fully recognised within the EUTR. This has the added benefit of helping businesses understand the value of these certification schemes, which help to protect the world’s forests.
  3. An impact assessment into the scope of products included in the EUTR – once a more harmonised approach to enforcement has been achieved.

You might be asking why we care about deforestation and are so proactive with this agenda? Kingfisher is particularly interested because 40% of our products contain wood or paper. We have a restorative sustainability ambition, called Net Positive, in which we have a commitment to understand where all the wood and paper we use comes from and to ensure it is all sustainably sourced. We started that journey more than two decades ago and are proud that 96% of all the products we sell are now responsibly sourced. We won’t rest until all of it is. Right now our business is impacted particularly in Romania and we need the EUTR to be effective to help us address this.

Forests make a huge financial, social and environmental contribution to our planet and there is an intrinsic link between looking after our forests and reducing the global carbon emissions that are leading to climate change.

The TRC was instrumental in campaigning for the introduction of the EUTR back in 2013 and will continue to talk to the European Commission until the regulations reach their objective of halting the trade of illegally sourced timber in Europe.

For more information about how we are embedding sustainability into all we do at Kingfisher and our commitments visit www.kingfisher.com/netpositive

SOURCE: Kingfisher plc

Media

3 Sheldon Square
Paddington
London
W2 6PX
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7372 8008
pressenquiries@kingfisher.com

BRC: European Commission’s new Single Market Strategy aligned with many of BRC’s priorities for EU reform

LONDON, 2015-11-02 — /EPR Retail News/ —  BRC has welcomed the publication today of the European Commission’s new Single Market Strategy, saying that is a step in the right direction toward achieving positive EU reforms.

Commenting, BRC Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “It’s good to see that today’s Strategy is aligned with many of the BRC’s priorities for EU reform. The Commission’s plan builds on previous good work and makes sensible suggestions for improvement which will be welcomed by retailers across the UK.”

The Commission’s Strategy outlines the steps that need to be taken in order to further the EU’s Single Market. Crucially it recognises far more progress needs to be made in the area of services in the Single Market. For retailers this means having the same rights and freedom to operate in other European markets as domestic operators. The Commission also recognises the critical role that national and local authorities play in ensuring that the Single Market works properly in their geographies. Commission proposals for national and local authorities to be far more transparent and accountable about the decisions they take that affect the Single Market rights of businesses (including retailers) have been particularly welcomed.

Dickinson added: “It’s pleasing to note that the commission have heeded the BRC’s calls to resist launching a new initiative and are instead concentrating their fire-power on making what exists already work better for business and consumers”

Commission proposals to strengthen the existing tools such as the SOLVIT network (which ensures compliance with the Single Market rules) have also been welcomed as better functioning tools allow affected businesses to pursue complaints about unfair discrimination in other Member States. Another important development proposed in the communication is the bringing together into one central location of all the information businesses need to know in order to trade in different member states. This will be of particular help to small and medium-sized businesses.

Dickinson concluded: “So long as the proposals make the leap from the page into concrete action they will make a material and positive difference our industry, allowing British retailers to offer even better service to their customers wherever in the EU they may be.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:
1. Please find the European Commission’s fact sheet on the new Single Market Strategy here

Media Contacts: BRC Press Office 020 7854 8924

Staples responds to European Commission’s announcement of a Phase II review of the Office Depot acquisition

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., 2015-9-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Staples, Inc. today issued a statement in response to the European Commission’s announcement of a Phase II review of the Office Depot acquisition.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission regarding the acquisition of Office Depot,” said Ron Sargent, Chief Executive Officer, Staples, Inc. “The transaction would enable Staples to better serve customers around the world and to compete in a rapidly evolving global marketplace.”

Regulators in Australia, New Zealand and China have approved the transaction. Staples continues to work with regulatory authorities in the European Union, the United Statesand Canada.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In connection with the proposed merger, Staples has filed with the SEC a registration statement on Form S-4 that includes a proxy statement of Office Depot that also constitutes a prospectus of Staples. Staples filed the final proxy statement/prospectus with the SEC on May 18, 2015. The registration statement was declared effective by theSEC on May 15, 2015. Office Depot mailed the definitive proxy statement/prospectus to stockholders of Office Depot on or about May 19, 2015, and the stockholders approved the transaction on June 19, 2015. The registration statement and the proxy statement/prospectus contain important information about Staples, Office Depot, the transaction and related matters. Investors and security holders are urged to read the registration statement and the proxy statement/prospectus (including all amendments and supplements thereto) carefully.

Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the registration statement and the proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC by Staples andOffice Depot through the web site maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.

In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the registration statement and the definitive proxy statement/prospectus from Staples by contacting Staples’ Investor Relations Department at 800-468-7751 or from Office Depot by contacting Office Depot’s Investor Relations Department at 561-438-7878.

SAFE HARBOR FOR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements in this document regarding the proposed transaction between Staples and Office Depot, the expected timetable for satisfying conditions to the merger, including receiving regulatory approvals, and completing the transaction, future financial and operating results, benefits and synergies of the transaction, future opportunities for the combined company and any other statements about Staples’ future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans or prospects constitute forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “intends,” “estimates” and similar expressions) should also be considered to be forward looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward looking statements, including: the ability to consummate the transaction; the risk that regulatory approvals required for the merger are not obtained or are obtained after delays or subject to conditions that are not anticipated; the risk that the financing required to fund the transaction is not obtained; the risk that the other conditions to the closing of the merger are not satisfied; potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the merger; uncertainties as to the timing of the merger; competitive responses to the proposed merger; response by activist shareholders to the merger; uncertainty of the expected financial performance of the combined company following completion of the proposed transaction; the ability to successfully integrate Staples’ and Office Depot’s operations and employees; the ability to realize anticipated synergies and cost savings; unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the merger; litigation relating to the merger; the outcome of pending or potential litigation or governmental investigations; the inability to retain key personnel; any changes in general economic and/or industry specific conditions; and the other factors described in Staples’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 31, 2015 and Office Depot’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 27, 2014 and their most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q each filed with the SEC. Staples disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this document.

About Staples:
Staples makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it’s in-store, online or on mobile devices. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and break room supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Copy and Print services. Staples also offers free shipping for Staples Rewards Members, in most cases overnight. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.

Source: Staples, Inc.

Staples, Inc.
Kirk Saville, 508-253-8530
Kirk.Saville@Staples.com
or
Chris Powers, 508-253-4632
Christoper.Powers@Staples.com