May 28, 2018
Minnesota Retail Champions Nominations Open Through Friday
When innovative retailers and their partners gather, learn and celebrate at Retail Rally in October, we'll roll out the red carpet to recognize 10 Minnesota organizations and individuals for being champions of the industry.

Show your support for Minnesota's retail industry by nominating an employee, employer, business or vendor partner for one or more of these prestigious awards:

  •  Lifetime Achievement/Outstanding Achievement
  •  Vendor Partner of the Year
  •  Retailer of the Year
  •  Retail Community of the Year
  •  Retail Employee of the Year
  •  Social Responsibility
  •  Best Place To Work
  •  Retail Innovation
  •  Customer Experience
  •  Advocate of the Year

Nominations are open through June 1 and can be done at www.retailrally.com/nominate.

Take a moment to nominate a Minnesota Retail Champion today!
U.S. Retail Sales Gain Points to Healthier Second Quarter
From Bloomberg, Sho Chandra, May 15, 2018

U.S. retail sales rose in broad fashion last month as bigger after-tax paychecks helped compensate for rising fuel costs, signaling consumer demand was off to a firm start this quarter.

The value of sales increased 0.3 percent in April, matching the median forecast, after a 0.8 percent advance in the prior month that was stronger than initially reported, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday.

So-called retail-control group sales, which are used to calculate gross domestic product and exclude food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations, improved 0.4 percent after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain.

The results add to the expectation that consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, will rebound from its first-quarter weak patch. A strong job market and higher take-home pay in wake of tax reductions are buoying Americans’ wherewithal to spend and cushioning the squeeze from costlier fuel that leaves people with less money to buy other goods and services.

“Households are in good spirits and are spending in the new season,” James Knightley, chief international economist at ING Bank, wrote in a note. “Employment is rising, wages are growing and tax cuts means there is more cash in people’s pockets.”
Public Affairs Breakfast June 1 Features Legislators Recapping The Session
Legislators will unpack the wild end of session and look to the campaign season at the Friday, June 1 Public Affairs Breakfast.

Invited legislators include:

  • Representative Regina Barr
  • Representative Laurie Halverson
  • Representative Roz Peterson
  • Representative Anna Wills
  • Senator Jim Carlson
  • Senator Greg Clausen
Minnesota's Employers, With Fewer People To Hire, Are Hiring Fewer
From the Star Tribune, Evan Ramstad, May 17, 2018

Minnesota lost 3,200 jobs last month, and the state added fewer jobs in March than initially thought, the state jobs agency said Thursday.

The new data provided more evidence that hiring has slowed sharply in the state this year amid an ultratight supply of workers. The agency said the number of unemployed workers is at a 17-year low.

Minnesota's unemployment rate remained at 3.2 percent in April, the lowest rate since 2000, the Department of Employment and Economic Development said.

The agency also revised its March data, initially reported as an increase of 2,900 jobs, to a gain of 400.

In a statement, DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy suggested that the snowstorms at the start of April may have played a role in the job losses. But the data showed a continuing slower pace of hiring, something that became visible last fall and turned more pronounced after the start of 2018.

In the 12 months that ended April 30, Minnesota employers added 11,659 jobs. That is about one-third the pace of 34,715 new jobs they added in the 12 months ending April 30, 2017.
Consumers Spent 11% Less On Mother's Day In 2018
From Fierce Retail, Jacqueline Renfrow, May 17, 2018

Consumer spend on Mother's Day was 11% lower than sales during the same holiday period in 2017. 

Not surprisingly, young millennials, ages 25 to 35, came out in the largest numbers for Mother's Day purchases. On average, women spent 30% more money than men on gifts, up from 25% higher in 2017. 

According to data collected by NetElixir, 80% of Mother's Day gifts were bought between May 7 and May 13, with May 10 being the biggest shopping day.

Mobile was up just slightly from last year, accounting for 43% of all search queries and 31% of all orders, compared with 41% and 30% in 2017. And location searches were up from 23% of all searches in 2017 to 30% of all searches in 2018. Just prior to the big Sunday, spending on mobile was up 70%.
April Retail Sales Jump 0.4% As E-Commerce Climbs 9.6% From Last Year
From the Retail Dive, Daphne Howland, May 16, 2018

Retail sales in April (excluding sales from auto dealers, gas stations, building materials and food services) rose 0.4% from March 2018, according to the latest monthly report from the U.S. Commerce Department’s census bureau. March sales were revised upward to a 0.8% rise, from the previously reported 0.6%.

Nine of the 13 major retail categories posted positive sales results in April compared with March, according to retail think tank Coresight Research’s breakdown of the report. Clothing and accessories rose 1.4%, furniture sales rose 0.8% and e-commerce rose 0.6%. But health and personal care sales fell 0.4%, and electronics and appliance sales fell 0.1%, the Census Bureau said.

E-commerce sales in the period rose 9.6% from last year, while overall retail sales excluding auto rose 4.8% year over year, according to the government’s report.
NRF Tells USTR Tariffs Would Disrupt Retail Supply Chains, Drive Up Prices for Back-to-School and Holiday Merchandise
From the National Retail Federation, May 16, 2018

The National Retail Federation told the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during a hearing today [May 16] that proposed tariffs on Chinese goods would destroy U.S. jobs, disrupt supply chains and increase prices for U.S. consumers during the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.

“Prices will rise, and the economy will suffer,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in his testimony. “Retailers cannot quickly change suppliers to find alternate sources for goods impacted by the proposed tariffs. It can take years to develop new supply chains that satisfy retailer requirements for volume, reliability, regulatory compliance and vendor codes of conduct.”

“Back-to-school merchandise will be arriving at U.S. ports in the next couple of weeks and holiday merchandise — already on order in most instances — will start to arrive at the end of the summer,” French said. “The sudden imposition of tariffs on any of these goods will likely be passed along to U.S. consumers.”

“Instead of tariffs, we urge the administration to focus the strategy on China on concrete initiatives to address the underlying barriers and distortions. This strategy must include clearly defined objectives, direct negotiating mechanisms with the Chinese, targeted deliverables and deadlines with measurable results.”