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NRF turns to Supreme Court for swipe fee relief

BY HBSDealer Staff

The National Retail Federation told the U.S. Supreme Court that the debate over debit card swipe fees is “of staggering importance” and asked the justices to review a ruling that left the Federal Reserve’s cap on the billions of transactions conducted each year at 21 cents rather than reducing it to a lower level.

“There’s so much at stake here for U.S. retailers and their customers that we have no choice but to pursue this case as far as possible,” NRF Senior VP and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “When a federal agency blatantly disregards the clear intent of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, that’s a dispute that cannot be ignored.”

A petition asking the Supreme Court to consider the case was filed yesterday by NRF, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Restaurant Association, NRF member Boscov’s Department Store, and NACS member Miller Oil Co., all of whom were plaintiffs in the original lawsuit.

Under the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act of 2010, the Federal Reserve was required to adopt regulations that would result in debit swipe fees that were “reasonable and proportional” to the actual cost of processing a transaction. Incremental costs of authorizing, clearing and settling each transaction were allowed to be considered but fixed costs were not. 

The Fed calculated the average incremental cost at 4 cents per transaction and initially proposed a cap no higher than 12 cents, but eventually settled on 21 cents after heavy lobbying from the financial services industry.While lower than the average of 45 cents before the cap was set, NRF argued that the 21-cent figure included costs that went beyond those allowed under the legislation and filed suit against the Fed in U.S. District Court in 2011 along with other retail groups.

 

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HCN Store-o-matic opening and closing map (don’t publish)

BY HBSDealer Staff

The HCN Store-o-Matic openings-and-closings map shows the latest hardware store, lumberyard or farm-and-ranch retailer real-estate activity. If an opening or closing takes place in your market, let us know here.

#geocommons_map_376963 {width: 100%; height: 400px; position:relative;}

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var geocommons_map_376963 = new F1.Maker.Map({map_id: “376963”, dom_id: “geocommons_map_376963”});

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Home Depot CEO pleased with Q2

BY Ken Clark

It’s no wonder The Home Depot CEO Frank Blake was smiling wide in his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video. He and his leadership team were about to report second quarter net earnings in excess of $2 billion.

“We saw broad based growth in the quarter across all of our geographies,” Blake said during the company’s second quarter earnings call Tuesday morning.

Net earnings came in at $2.050 billion, up 14.2% from the same quarter last year. That’s the highest second quarter haul in the company’s history.

Some of Blake’s other points revealing strength in the business:
• All three U.S. divisions poste mid-single digit comps;
• Every region showed positive comps; and
* The Homedepot.com business saw sales growth of 38%;

All of the above were achieved despite strong performances in the year-ago period, he said.

Home Depot’s installation services business had a strong quarter, as the retailer saw an acceleration of big-ticket transactions. 

“While our year got off to a slow start because of the late spring, we ended the first half with sales in line with our original expectations,” he said. 

Describing the housing market as “a modest tailwind for our business,” Blake added that home price appreciation is an important positive for Home Depot’s business. “Price appreciation is not setting the pace of last year, but it is still going in a positive direction,” he said.

Home Depot reported second quarter net sales of $23.8 billion, up 5.7%. Comp-store sales were positive 5.8%.

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