March 12, 2018

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MnRA's Retail Day At The Capitol is Tuesday, March 27. Don't miss this opportunity to share the importance of retail across the state with elected officials.
Your Voice
Retail Day At The Capitol In Just Two Weeks: Register Now!

Your story meets your legislators at the Minnesota Retailers Association's I am RETAIL Day at the Capitol March 27!

Our half-day begins with a breakfast reception featuring legislative leaders followed by conversations with legislators at the State Capitol.

With one in four jobs in Minnesota directly connected to retail, our elected officials now more than ever need to understand the impact of their decisions on retail businesses.

No cost to attend. Continental breakfast served. RSVP requested by March 13. This is a members and invited guests only event and is not open to the public. Pre-registration required.

Beginning location:
Minnesota National Guard St. Paul Armory - in the State Capitol complex area

Ending location:
Minnesota State Capitol

Breakfast-Only Option:
Interested in attending the breakfast only? Great! Just mark the "breakfast-only" option when registering. Breakfast concludes at 9:00 a.m.


Legislative Update            
Misrepresented Service Animals and Gas Pump/ATM Tampering Bills Move Forward At The Capitol 

Week three of the Minnesota legislative session was marked by a picking up of the pace, as Legislators get closer to their first self-imposed deadline relating to the passage of bills at the committee level. Some of the items of interest this week included a hearing on self-driving vehicles, continued action around gun control with an estimated 5,000 students coming to the Capitol, and activities surrounding Thursday's International Women's Day.

For retailers, two bills saw positive committee action last week.  First, a bill to make it a crime to tamper with or attempt to tamper with gas pumps, ATMs, and other electronic devices was passed out of committee and sent to the Senate floor. In addition, the bill was heard in a House committee. The measure seeks to address the rise in crime surrounding credit card skimmers connected to electronic devices.

Also of note to retailers, a Minnesota Retailers Association-supported bill designed to improve the integrity of the representation of trained service animals was heard in the House and held in committee for changes, along with a Senate version passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  These bills would make the misrepresentation of animals that are not trained as service animals a crime. The effort has seen strong support from the disability community.

MnRA members receive a legislative update every Friday during the legislative session. If you are non-member and would like to receive the update or are a member not receiving it, please contact us at  
Jobs Update            
Retail Jobs Up 46,000 In February
From the National Retail Federation, February 28, 2018  
"Retail industry employment increased by 46,400 jobs in February over January, the National Retail Federation said today. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, the economy added 313,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.

"This substantial gain in retail jobs is a significant positive sign regarding the health and viability of the industry," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "It is stronger than expected and there were broad gains across most retail sectors. Beyond retail, labor markets continued to strengthen in all industries in February, and more jobs throughout the economy will mean more consumers shopping in retail stores. With tax reform in effect, consumer confidence increasing and strong underlying economic fundamentals, 2018 is off to a good start and we expect a prosperous year ahead."

The February increase was more than four times the gain of 10,800 jobs seen in January over December. The three-month moving average in February showed an increase of 10,600 jobs.
General merchandise stores were up by 17,700 jobs, fueled mostly by gains at warehouse and supercenter stores, while clothing and accessories stores were up by 14,900 jobs and building materials stores were up by 10,300 jobs. There were declines totaling 5,400 jobs spread across health and personal care, sporting goods and miscellaneous stores.

Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department do not provide an accurate picture of the industry because they count only employees who work in stores while excluding retail workers in other parts of the business such as corporate headquarters, distribution centers, call centers and innovation labs.

Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in February increased by 68 cents - 2.6 percent - year over year. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged for the fifth straight month."

Sales Tax Fairness 
Conventional Retailers Are Working With Industry Groups To Overturn A Tax Break That Benefits E-commerce Brands
From Chain Store Age, Deena M. Amato-McCoy, March 5, 2018  
"On Monday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association public policy organization called Retail Litigation Center, along with more than 20 retail and wholesale trade associations, filed a document to overturn a rule that the Supreme Court adopted in the pre-Internet era. Specifically, the group hopes to influence the court to reverse special tax breaks given to online retailers.

The brief highlights the pending Supreme Court case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Overstock, and Newegg, which seeks to repeal the law that keeps states from collecting sales tax from online purchases unless those retailers have a physical presence within their state.

The 1992 decision of Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota upholds this law, which still keeps states from applying sales tax to online purchases. However, the new brief explains that this decision is outdated, since it originally pertained to a majority of catalog companies - a segment that had sales of roughly $180 billion at the time. Currently, online sales today are almost $6 trillion.

"Today's online giants do not need or deserve the special tax treatment that the court gave mail order catalog companies a half century ago," said Deborah White, general counsel for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and president of the Retail Litigation Center. "These online companies have taken advantage of a bygone decision in order to evade the tax collection duties that their brick and mortar competitors perform every day."

Millennials Will Pay More For Top Mobile Shopping Experiences
From the Retail Dive, Store Age, Deena M. Amato-McCoy, March 5, 2018  
"More than one third (37%) of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service providing that they can get a superior shopping experience with mobile, according to a study by Worldpay. When millennials (defined in the study as those between the ages of 18 and 24, but generally defined as between 22 and 35) are broken out, the number rises to 44%, which is twice as high as consumers older than 65.

Apps are the channel of choice for 68% of consumers, but competition for app space on individual mobile devices is fierce. U.S. consumers have downloaded an average of seven apps compared to a global average of 10.

Security concerns are the top reason consumers abandon shopping carts while shopping on mobile."

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Minnesota Retailers Associaiton
400 Robert Street North, suite 1540
St. Paul, MN 55101
Tel. (651) 227-6631 - -