Microsoft Business Solutions Joins Forces With Citibank Merchant Services To Offer Enhanced Retail Management System

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2003 — Building on their strong relationship, Microsoft Corp. and Citibank Merchant Services today announced an extension of their collaboration to offer Microsoft®
Business Solutions’ customers — specifically small and midmarket retailers — technology and services designed for the independent merchant. The agreement, announced at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 92nd Annual Conference & Expo, enhances Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) by introducing a new payment processing module.

For small to midmarket Microsoft RMS customers — businesses with between one and 25 stores — the agreement between the two companies offers substantial savings on merchant services costs. In addition to the savings on store operations and return on investment the Microsoft RMS technology currently offers, the agreement provides competitive pricing for credit card transactions and eliminates fees for applications, setup and monthly statements. Making it easier for clerks to process transactions quickly and with fewer errors, the agreement also eliminates the need for merchant credit card payment terminals, which are used to handle purchases made with credit and debit cards and which are generally incompatible with cash registers.

“Retail has always been a tough business,”
said Brendan O’Meara, product unit manager for Retail Management Systems at Microsoft Business Solutions.
“It’s tougher today than ever before, so we’ve designed, developed and enhanced Microsoft RMS to help the independent merchant establish and sustain a competitive advantage. The value that Citibank Merchant Services brings to the technology is part of our ability to help small and midmarket retailers realize that advantage.”

Julie Pukas, business manager with Citibank Merchant Services, said the agreement announced today is a natural outgrowth of the relationship the two companies already enjoy.
“Offering the independent merchant a powerful point-of-sale technology combined with merchant services from an industry leader makes Microsoft RMS an even stronger and more strategic investment for the small and midmarket retailer,”
she said.
“Combining the experience and expertise of Microsoft Business Solutions with Citibank Merchant Services enhances an independent merchant’s ability to more effectively and profitably manage their business.”

Microsoft Retail Management System: Empowering the Independent Merchant

Designed to empower the independent merchant with increased control over both time and money, Microsoft RMS delivers the ability to more effectively manage the key business processes of a small retail business by tightly integrating the point of sale, inventory, pricing, purchasing, customer service and accounting processes. It also offers integrated online payment processing services. Microsoft RMS is easy to learn and use by employees and does not require an expensive IT staff, consulting or maintenance systems, which results in a fast return on investment for the merchant.

The technology’s ease of use and cost factors make it a preferred solution for independent merchants. Microsoft RMS supports most common retail transaction types. It is easily installed and configured and includes basic retail functions, processes and most common retail reports. It is also easy to upgrade and expand as a business grows.

Using Microsoft RMS, retailers realize a return on investment in several ways. The costs of carrying excess inventory are reduced, leading to an increase in gross margins with more cost-effective purchasing. Microsoft RMS increases operating efficiencies by reducing credit card processing costs, pricing errors, theft and shrinkage, labor costs, and the costs of accounting and sales tracking. Microsoft RMS also provides retailers with powerful means for delivering superior customer service and increasing sales, by reducing the risk of out-of-stocks and providing automatic pricing models and more-effective marketing promotions.

“Microsoft Retail Management System has significantly improved the way we manage our business and, most important, the way we interact with our customers,”
said Dean Del Prete, president of Cousins Paintball in Deer Park, N.Y. Cousins Paintball is a retail store that sells paintball-related products and provides equipment and indoor and outdoor playing field rentals. The company was looking for a product that would grow with the business and meet the unique retail needs of rentals and sales of noninventoried and inventoried products. Cousins Paintball has implemented Microsoft Retail Management products in five of its eight locations in the New York area.
“It’s easy to implement and easy to learn and use, which allows our employees to focus their undivided attention on delivering the kind of service that keeps our customers coming back for more. It also provides us with a quick status of our inventory that helps us solve out-of-stock and overstock problems before they even arise.”

Availability and Pricing

Independent merchants interested in taking advantage of the payment processing module must purchase or upgrade to version 1.1 of Microsoft RMS, which will be available in the United States Feb. 21, 2003, through an authorized Microsoft RMS reseller. Pricing begins at $1,290 for a one- to three-user version.

About Citibank Merchant Services

Citibank Merchant Services is the U.S. merchant card-processing division for Citigroup. Citibank Merchant Services provides a comprehensive set of credit card processing solutions for all types of businesses including traditional retailers, B2B companies, utilities and e-commerce companies. The business manages a suite of card-processing services ranging from point-of-sale terminals to PC-based virtual solutions and supports all major card brands including MasterCard® , Visa® , Diners Club® /Carte Blanche® , American Express® , Discover® and JCB®
. In addition, Citibank Merchant Services supports both offline and online debit cards, and purchasing cards. Citicorp Payment Services Inc., a subsidiary of Citibank N.A., is the provider of Citibank Merchant Services. .

About Citigroup Inc.

Citigroup (NYSE
), the preeminent global financial services company with some 200 million customer accounts in more than 100 countries, provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Salomon Smith Barney, Banamex, and Travelers Life and Annuity. Additional information may be found at .

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offers a wide range of business applications designed to help small and midmarket businesses become more connected with customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Microsoft Business Solutions’ applications automate end-to-end business processes across financials, distribution, project accounting, electronic commerce, human resources and payroll, manufacturing, supply chain management, business intelligence, sales and marketing management, and customer service and support. More information about Microsoft Business Solutions can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Microsoft Business Solutions ApS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. or Microsoft Business Solutions ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at h .

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