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News Briefs

  • 7/5/2024

    Amazon expands carrier agreement with Sun Country Airlines


    Amazon is expanding its air cargo operations with Minnesota-based, low-cost air carrier Sun Country Airlines. 

    Under the amended agreement, Sun Country, which operates in the United States and the Americas, will operate up to eight additional Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft beginning in early 2025.  The amended agreement will increase Sun Country’s cargo operation for Amazon from 12 to up to 20 freighters.

    The first additional aircraft expected to begin service in the first quarter of 2025. All eight aircraft are expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2025. Sun Country began operating aircraft for Amazon in May 2020.

    “Amazon is an extremely important customer to Sun Country and strong execution on our current cargo services positioned us well to grow our business," said Jude Bricker, CEO of Sun Country. "We look forward to continuing to provide services to Amazon into the 2030s."

    Amazon has been simplifying its domestic US network over the past year, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Chaddick Institute, reported AirCargoNews. The changes have seen the carrier deploy larger aircraft and consolidate operations at fewer hubs, the report said.

  • 7/5/2024

    NRF applauds Supreme Court ruling on debit card swipe fee challenge

    swipe fee

    The National Retail Federation (NRF) welcomed the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing a lawsuit that says the Federal Reserve set its 2011 cap on debit card “swipe” fees too high to move forward despite arguments that the suit was filed too late.

    “There are multiple reasons why the statute of limitations has not expired in this case,” NRF chief administrative officer and general counsel Stephanie Martz said. “The bottom line is that a small business harmed by a faulty regulation should not be denied its day in court based on a technicality, especially one that has been in dispute. The Federal Reserve set the cap far higher than intended by Congress and merchants like Corner Post have paid millions of dollars too much as a result, in turn driving up prices for their customers. That harm is ongoing and hasn’t been changed by the passage of time. The Supreme Court has made the right decision by allowing this lawsuit to be decided on its merits.”

    The Supreme Court ruling was in favor of a 2021 federal lawsuit filed by the Corner Post, a Watford City, N.D., truck stop and convenience store that was joined by the North Dakota Retail Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association. The case challenged a Federal Reserve cap on debit card swipe fees that took effect in 2011, saying it was set higher than intended by Congress. NRF is not a party, but Martz is a co-counsel in the case.

    To read more, click here.

  • 7/5/2024

    Direct selling industry grows 34% from 2016 to 2022

    Online shopping

    The direct selling industry is making massive gains, according to new data.

    Direct selling channels contributed $111.4 billion to the U.S. economy in 2022, up 34% from $28.3 billion in 2016, according to the Direct Selling Education Foundation's 2024 Economic Impact Report. The increase contributed $15.5 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments, an increase of $4.9 billion (a 46% increase) from 2016.

    “Because of the nature of the direct selling industry and its widespread use of independent contractors, the total estimated economic impact of $111.4 billion should be considered conservative,” said Dr. Robert A Peterson, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin who conducted the study. “What we’re seeing is a big effect on household income (induced effect), an increase of 70% from 2016, and real growth of 34% in total impact over the same period.”

    According to the DSEF report, the $111.4 billion economic impact consisted of:

    • The Direct (retail sales) Effect of direct selling, $40.5 billion
    • The Indirect (upstream or supply chain) Effect of direct selling, $31.0 billion, and
    • The Induced (downstream or household) Effect of direct selling, $39.9 billion

    “The impact of the channel continues to grow as people engage with direct selling companies to earn supplemental income, pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and enjoy great products and services,” says Joe Mariano, president of Direct Selling Association and DSEF. “The channel is definitely hidden in plain view.”

  • 7/2/2024

    Chain Store Age to close on Independence Day

    American flag

    The Chain Store Age offices will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. We will reopen, and resume publishing Daybreaker, on Friday, July 5. 

    We wish our readers a happy and safe holiday!

  • 7/2/2024

    Layne's Chicken Fingers plots new growth in home state

    Layne's Chicken Fingers

    Layne’s Chicken Fingers is planning to substantially grow its store count through a new franchise agreement.

    The Texas-based quick-serve chicken restaurant will open 25 new units in East Texas through a deal with Taylor Thomas, a veteran franchisee who operates multiple Whataburgers in the state. Layne currently operates 13 locations in Texas, along with one in West Virginia and two in Pennsylvania.

    “We were out eating one night and one of our buddies brought up Layne’s,” Thomas said. “We didn’t even know the brand. We went to check it out, started talking with the team, visited some locations in Dallas and fell in love with the product. It was really everything we were after.”

    Layne’s has already signed on for 91 new restaurants through eight franchise agreements in the first quarter of 2024 alone and expects 10 more openings this year, including locations in Nashville, Janesville, Wis.; and Roswell, Ga., the brand’s first locations in the new states.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Taylor to the Layne's family as he embarks on this exciting venture in East Texas,” said Samir Wattar, chief operating officer of Layne’s Chicken Fingers. “His extensive experience in the franchise industry and dedication to excellence are exactly what we look for in our partners. Together, we are looking forward to making Layne's a beloved household name in East Texas and beyond.”

    Founded in 1994 in College Station, Layne’s is known for its chicken fingers and secret sauce.

  • 7/2/2024

    Report: Iconic music retailer Sam Ash to be acquired by Mexican retailer

    Sam Ash

    Sam Ash has reportedly found a new owner.

    The iconic music retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in May with plans to close is being acquired by Mexican retailer Gonher Music Center, reported According to the report, which cited a new filing to the court overseeing Sam Ash’s bankruptcy, Gohner will purchase “substantially all” of the chain’s remaining assets, excluding its closing-down sale stock for $15.2 million, plus liabilities and fees.

    In filing for bankruptcy, Sam Ash said it was closing all its 42 stores and evaluating potentially selling its e-commerce operations and related intellectual property as well as its wholesale business in the bankruptcy proceedings.   

    “We believe that a restructuring of our liabilities and a potential sale of the business or portions of the business is the best path forward to unlock and maximize value for the benefit of the company's stakeholders,” David Ash, CEO of the privately-owned, New York-based retailer, said in May. 

    The deal with Gonher will not affect Sam Ash’s physical stores, which are all closing. But the agreement does state that some employees are eligible to be transferred to Gonher, presumably to keep the online side of Sam Ash running, reported

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