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Retail

Three Major Headaches For Small Biz Owners

Mention the words Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to a small business owner at your own risk. To say that credit card companies and interchange fees are unpopular is a bit of an understatement.

According to NACS a convenience and petroleum retailing group, credit card fees cost U.S. convenience stores $8.4 billion, compared with $5.2 billion in store profits in 2008.

NACS recently held a news conference in Florida to call attention to the reintroduction of the Credit Card Fair Fee Act in Congress. The group supports the bill because it would give small businesses more negotiating power with banks that issue credit cards over interchange fees.

In addition to a legislative solution, another glimmer of hope for small biz rests with Revolution Money. Founded by Steve Case, Revolution Money is an alternative payments company that seeks to change the way people pay by providing secure, easy and flexible payment solutions. Founded in 2005, they are challenging the traditional payments industry model by offering a low-cost debit based payment card network.

I’m not big on legislative solutions to business issues, but something clearly needs to be done. Here’s hoping that Case’s group puts some heat on Visa, Amex and Mastercard and small business owners catch a much needed break.

What About Kohl's?

According to BIGresearch’s monthly national Consumer Intentions and Actions (CIA) Survey, Walmart is building a stronger hold on the Men’s sector, and Kohl’s continues to gain new customers in this department as well. Walmart tops the list, with 15.4% shopping there most often (up from 14% last year), while Kohl’s places second at 9.6%, increasing almost two points from ’08 (7.8%). JC Penney is third with 8.7% (also gaining from a year ago), while Macy’s (5.5%) and Target (3.2%) complete the Top 5.

While it is not a surprise that Walmart is up in any category, it is surprising that more people are not talking about Kohl’s. Kohl’s is well positioned for this market, and the current focus on private labels favors a retailer like Kohl’s. Judging from the stock charts for Kohl’s, I’m not the only one who has noticed. I just wished I had thought of it earlier.