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February 7, 2013

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News Brief
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Village Market Food Centers’ Comptroller steals $6M for a fleet of muscle cars 
Christopher E. Pratt was charged Friday, February 1, 2013, with defrauding his former employer, Village Market Food Centers. In a one count Felony Information, the United States Attorney’s Office alleged that from 2004 until 2012 Pratt, who was Village Market’s Comptroller stole over $6,000,000 by diverting funds from Village Market Food Centers accounts to pay Pratt’s personal credit card bills. The Information alleges that Pratt used the money primarily to finance and maintain a fleet of muscle-cars. (Source justice.gov)

Is Retail Dead as the creator of Netscape proclaims or will it reinvent itself?  Here's a look from one prospective of what it may look like in the future and right now we've all got to be focused on that. What is retail going to look like in 10 years and how do we as an industry deliver our service in this new environment? Here's one person's take on retail's future. (Source retailprophet.com)

Mall of America security using behavioral profiling  Looking to Israeli security methods, Security Director Doug Reynolds learned about how behavioral profiling is used in the country, especially at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. He attended training in Israel to better understand how the technique is used and how security officials there have improved it. A former Israeli Airports Authority security agent, Michael Rozin, was brought onto the Mall of America’s security team to help adopt the country’s behavioral profiling principles to the public environment at the U.S. facility. Rozin and Reynolds worked to create the mall’s Risk Assessment and Mitigation (RAM) program, which instead of relying on technology to help identify a potential security risk, uses trained officers who look for behavior that isn’t considered normal in the mall’s setting. (Source emergencymgmt.com)

Home Depot plans an 14% increase in staffing levels for their upcoming busy season - Memorial Day and on  HD plans to add more than 80,000 temporary workers ahead of its busiest season, about 14 percent more than a year ago, as a housing rebound spurs spending on remodeling and landscaping. Lowe’s, the second-biggest home-improvement retailer, said last month it plans to hire 45,000 part-time seasonal workers and another 9,000 permanent employees. The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company added about 40,000 seasonal workers last year. Betting on the rising housing market. (Source bloomberg.com)

Cleaning subcontractors at Target agree to tentative settlement of $675,000.  Workers who clean a handful of Twin Cities-area Target stores would share in a $675,000 proposed settlement, the result of a lawsuit that alleged a Target subcontractor avoided paying overtime. Roughly 200 to 250 employees of Diversified Maintenance Systems, the cleaning subcontractor, may benefit. Diversified is a national cleaning company that has contracts with several large retailers in the Twin Cities including Target, Best Buy, Sears and Kmart. The settlement needs federal court approval, and the court also would decide how much plaintiffs’ attorneys receive for fees, which would come out of the $675,000. The settlement agrees those fees would be capped at $350,000. (Source twincities.com)

Mobile checkouts are here and growing rapidly  Mobility is already transforming the payments space, and retailers are adapting quickly to reap the benefits and enhance the customer experience, whether it’s in-store, on a device or online. Retailers are not only realizing immediate and significant returns on their investment, but also creating a more fulfilling shopping experience for their customers. It eliminates waiting in lines and enables staff to help more customers and increase sales in the process. Here's a story of one small chain that saw a 318% increase in store sales this past holiday season and they're saying mobile checkouts helped drive that increase. (Source internetretailer.com)

"The age of privacy is over" for Generation Y - how does that impact retailers?  A global survey by Cisco of 18 to 30 yr-olds and IT professionals showed them saying the age of privacy is over with 75% not trusting web sites to protect personal information but still using them regardless. This becomes an issue for companies when these employees take risks online with work devices that run on corporate networks. Generation Y employees will test corporate cultures and policies because they expect social media freedom, device choice and mobile lifestyles. In fact, two-thirds of the respondents disagreed with the idea of employers being allowed to track employee's online activity on company devices. (Source itpro.co.uk)

BYOD is increasing IT frustration and loss of control  BYOD is creating new challenges for IT. The top two sources of frustration were on-boarding and then supporting the increasing number and variety of personal devices, far outranking even security concerns. Forty (40) percent of companies' mobility budgets are now managed by non-IT departments. IT managers are challenged to safeguard corporate data and keep roaming costs low. And when mobility budgets are managed by departments rather than IT, data roaming costs can be hard to control. (Source net-security.org)

Microsoft, Symantec take down click-fraud botnet that infected 8M computers  By generating unintended clicks and visits, the botnet distorted the online advertising environment by making advertisers pay for clicks that were not genuine, the lawsuit says. "Simply put, the ad owner paid for internet traffic that is of no use," it states. Ripping off the advertisers for millions. It's the sixth botnet Microsoft has shut down in the past three years, and the second done in cooperation with Symantec. As in previous botnet-related lawsuits, Microsoft named 18 "John Doe" defendants, several of whom are listed as living in Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. The lawsuit will be amended when the defendants' real names are discovered. (Source csoonline.com)

The UL certification process and audit for alarm company's central stations can be filled with anxiety  Find out what your alarm company's central station went thru to get theirs in this look at it from their prospective. Great article if you want to learn more about how they become certified. (Source securitysystemnews.com)

Five from Queens Charged in Toy-Smuggling Scheme  Five men busted for being part of an elaborate smuggling operation of Chinese-made toys that law enforcement officials said operated for eight years, despite having shipments seized 33 times. Each time goods were seized they'd abandon the goods and switch the name of the importing company. They wholesaled the goods and sold them out of a store in Queens with many of the toys being dangerous for children. (Source nytimes.com)

Bayside Man Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Scheme, was connected to Newark based Asian organized crime gang  The defendant, who was arrested on Sept. 16, worked with New Jersey’s Sang-Hyun Park to defraud banks, credit card companies and other lenders. The organization’s members assisted the customers who purchased the identities in opening bank accounts and obtaining credit cards. (Source patch.com)

Three Men Arrested After Robbing Same Jewelry Shop Twice in Cobble Hill, NY  Three men were caught last month when they tried to break into a Cobble Hill jewelry store for the second time in just a few weeks, police said. But cops — who believed the three suspects were behind a citywide string of robberies involving dozens of stores — were staking out Elleven when the suspects returned. (Source dnainfo.com)

Just like in the movies - but real-life - Reward to Be Offered in Kidnapping, $600k to $1.2m Jewelry Store Robbery and may be linked to an organized crime ring Police in Chester County are close to announcing reward money, to help them capture four men wanted in a home invasion, kidnapping and jewelry store robbery. As previously reported in the Daily, the four masked men, armed with semi-automatic handguns, forced their way into the Tredyffrin Township home of a jewelry store owner last Friday. The men tied up the owner and his wife, ransacked the house and then forced the owner into his own car at gunpoint made him drive to his Norriton jewelry store and stole between $600,000 and $1.2M in jewelry and then stole his car for their getaway. (Source nbcphiladelphia.com)

Arrest made in the Louis Vuitton store smash and grab in Palm Desert.  Officers responding to a burglar alarm arrived just before 1 a.m., on Friday Feb. 1 at the Louis Vuitton store. Later that morning officers noticed a car that fit the description of the suspect's vehicle. When officers stopped the car, the driver took off running. Hollian Hannah was arrested after a foot chase and booked on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle. Further investigations revealed Hannah was one of the suspects involved in the Louis Vuitton smash and grab robbery. The second suspected thief remains at large. (Source mydesert.com)

Corpus Christi Woman Convicted of Aggravated Robbery, injuring several Walmart Associates.  Miranda Cisneros was found guilty on three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of child endangerment. The 21-year-old's defense attorney unsuccessfully argued for the jury to consider lesser charges of robbery and theft. She now faces up to 99 years in prison as the sentencing phase is scheduled to get underway Employees of the Walmart on Greenwood caught Cisneros shoplifting in June of last year. Surveillance footage showed Cisneros running over two store employees who were trying to stop her. She had her three-year-old daughter in the car with her at the time. (Source kiiitv.com)

Passing motorist tips police to Jewelry store robbery in progress resulting in arrest, may be connected to the Zales Pentagon City Mall smash-and-grab  The security camera video from Colonial Jewelers on Market Street in downtown Frederick shows three men -- one armed with a handgun -- entering the store Tuesday afternoon, ordering everyone down on the floor, smashing a display case and grabbing handfuls of jewelry. Then they sprayed employees and customers with pepper spray, police said. A passing motorist saw what was happening through the window and quickly flagged down a police officer. Detectives worked through the night and arrested 31-year-old Alonzo Lee Meadows in the District early Wednesday morning. They are looking for the other two men. Police in Arlington, Va., are looking into the possibility that the crime is connected to a similar smash-and-grab at the Zales Jewelry store in Pentagon City Mall Monday. (Source nbcwashington.com)

Dollar General Store Clerk whipped unruly boy, now faces charges in Georgia.  A Dollar General clerk is facing a battery charge after she was caught on tape allegedly whipping a customer’s child at least 25 times with a belt behind the counter of the store where she worked. Emilia Graciela Bell, 39, was arrested on Thursday at the Dollar General in Wrightsville, Ga., for aggravated assault for whipping 8-year-old Logan Ivey, who was at the store with his mother. According to a police report, Bell admitted to whipping the child with her belt after he had thrown a battery and a cookie at her. (Source coshoctontribune.com)

Spokane Police arrest two in connection with 10 store burglaries in the last month.   Hastings, GameStop and Radio Shack were just a few of the stores hit over the last month in the Lincoln Heights area. Spokane Police Crime Analysis Unit put together a pattern of the burglaries, placing officers at the right time to make the arrest as the suspect broke into the Radio Shack store. (Source kxly.com)

Minnesota shoe store robbery suspect faces Federal charges under the 1946 Hobbs Act.   A Fridley man accused of using a BB gun to rob shoe stores was indicted in federal court Tuesday on charges carrying a maximum sentence of 40 years. Peter Christopher Nunn was charged with two counts of interference with commerce by robbery. Nunn, 41, robbed Payless ShoeSource of $300 on Jan. 5, two days later robbed Famous Footwear of $700. Each of two counts of interference with commerce by robbery could bring as much as 20 years behind bars under the 1946 Hobbs Act, which allows "federal prosecutors to prosecute violent habitual criminals who commit armed robberies in places of business that involve interstate commerce." (Source minneapolisnewschannel.com)

January & Quarterly Same Store Sales Results

Macy's up 11.7% for month and 3.9% for the quarter
Limited Brands up 9% for the month and 5% for the quarter
99 Cents Only Stores up 4.3% for the quarter
Costco up 4% for the month for U.S. locations
Ross Stores up 4% for the month and 5% for the quarter
Target up 3.1% for the month and 0.4% for the quarter
TJX up 3% for the month and 4% for the quarter

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To Highlight Career Paths in Retail, NRF and University of Phoenix Announce “Dream BIG” Scholarship

-Program Will Award 10 Current Retail Workers with Full-Tuition Scholarships-

Ten U.S. retail employees will have a chance to make their dreams a reality through a program announced today between the NRF Foundation and the University of Phoenix. The Dream BIG scholarship will award 10 current retail employees with full tuition at any University of Phoenix campus or online program, providing them the opportunity to pair education with their work experience and ambitions to pursue a wide-array of career opportunities within the retail industry. The flexibility of the degree program will allow recipients to continue to work and live at home while advancing their education.

“Whether they’re working in marketing, IT, or finance, millions of people in our industry are living proof that retail career opportunities don’t end at the cash register,” said NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis. “With over 20 million Americans eligible to apply for this scholarship, we can’t wait to hear the dreams and stories of those who hope to advance their retail career through education, and look forward to making those dreams a reality for ten dedicated people in our industry.”

“Retail employees already dream big,” said University of Phoenix Chief Business Operating Officer Barry Feierstein. “Connecting driven, professional working learners with great careers is what we do. This education partnership and the Dream BIG Scholarship represent an important development in our long-term commitment to make higher education more responsive to the needs of both our students and our employer partners. Everyone benefits from having a highly-educated and skilled workforce that can compete in an ever-increasingly connected and collaborative global economy.”

How to Apply:

Eligibility is limited to the first 1,000 qualified applicants, who must meet all admissions requirements and submit a completed application by April 9, 2013. The application includes three written essays that highlight the applicant’s educational goals, aspirations within the industry, and a personal reflection of what inspires them. The applicant must also submit a letter of recommendation from a current retail professional with knowledge of the applicant’s skills and work ethic.

How and When Winners Are Chosen:

After being narrowed down by executives at NRF and the University of Phoenix, final scholarship recipients will be chosen by a panel of retail and educational executives, chaired by Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi. Recipients will be notified on July 30, 2013.

For more information about the Dream BIG Scholarship and how to apply, visit www.phoenix.edu/dreambig.

NRF Contact:
Shari Brown or Kathy Grannis
(855) NRF-PRESS
browns@nrf.com
grannisk@nrf.com

University of Phoenix Contact:
Ryan Rauzon
602-254-0086
Media@phoenix.edu

 
ORC News
 
Check fraud ring operating from Colorado to Nebraska and traveling I-80  From Colorado to Nebraska, Lincoln police are noticing a disturbing trend of they want to stop. Police say a group of people are using fake checks all over the state. Police say they print up as many fake checks, with your account number, as they want. Then, armed a stolen ID, police say the suspects hit Wal-Mart, Target, Hy-Vee, any store that will accept a check. Police believe the group traveled from Colorado hitting Lexington, Kearney, Grand Island, nearly every town on I-80. They may be making their way back across the state. (Source 1011now.com)

Five female ORC ring busted in Panama City, FL., hitting Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, Bath and Body Works, American Eagle, Justice for Girls, Carters, Claire's, and Charlotte Russe Five Georgia woman are in the Bay County jail, accused of participating in an organized theft ring, targeting local retail stores. Inside of their car, officers say they found more than 7,000 dollars worth of merchandise, shoplifted from store in Pier Park and the Panama City Mall. They believe the women were taking the merchandise back home to Albany, Georgia and selling it. The investigation by both agencies continues and more arrests or criminal charges are pending. (Source wjhg.com) (Source wtvy.com)

Four people arrested in Walmart fraud scheme in Lancaster, PA   Four people have been arrested in a scheme that involved stealing credit cards number and buying high end electronics online. This scheme was elaborate and police are investigating to see how much these four people actually stole. Ephrata Police say the four stole credit card numbers, bought high end electronics online, and then had them shipped to various Walmarts in Berks, York, Lehigh, Montgomery and Lancaster Counties. (Source whptv.com)

ORC twosome busted hitting Walmart store for DVDs multiple times in Utica, NY    Two Utica men face grand larceny charges after they allegedly stole more than $2,000 worth of DVDs from a Walmart in Lowville. One had been banned from the store for earlier thefts. (Source uticaod.com)

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Thought Challenge
 

Thought Challenge Review

Overs & Shorts

By Ramy Abud
National Cash Investigations Manager
Sears Canada Inc.


as published on October 4, 2012

Cash money incoming daily from registers (90 Millions per month) are not added at store but rather sent to bank who is compiling cash and cheques and return datas to us. Reports are generated showing bank numbers to POS results. Every LP members in stores were responsible to work overs-shorts and investigate any discrepancies. Was not working at all and losses were over $1.5 Million per year. Idea: Regroup and educate specialized investigators in one location to do overs-shorts investigations for all units nationwide. Result: went from $1.5 million losses to less than $100,000 per year. Arrestation of several cases of money defalcation by employees. Built strict and rigorous processes with banks, stores and employees relating to cash money. Detection of counterfeit and money laundering.

 

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Your Career
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Over 50? What You Should Expect From a Job   AOL Jobs blogger J.T. O'Donnell believes that every career has three phrases. Phase III, the last 20 years of a career, is all about reaping the rewards of decades of working. (Seasoned professional)

Signs You're Not a Good Leader  Many people think that just because they’re willing to take the risk of running a business, that qualifies them to add “leader” to their skill set. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some telltale signs that you’re not a good leader. ("At the top")

10 Steps to Stop Procrastinating (And Be More Productive)  Everyone procrastinates. But when procrastinating starts to interfere with performance at work, then it’s time to stop putting the task aside and get on with it. (No worries)

9 Tips for Shorter, Better Meetings  Too many business meetings are utter wastes of time. People drone on and on and little is accomplished, other than the avoidance of actual, productive work. Here are a set of simple rules to keep your meetings brief and to the point. (Focus)

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Flexibility and molding to the environment you're in is the first step towards integration and inclusion. In order to be absolutely effective, an executive must first become one with their surroundings and mold to what it is as opposed to expecting them to mold to you. Seeing and hearing those subtle differences is the key and changing to it becomes the objective. Once modified, you then have the freedom to influence change and make a difference.

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