February 5, 2018

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At a January Board meeting, Grand Jete's Ruthena Fink was presented with a Minnesota state flag that was flown over the State Capitol in her honor. Ruthena chaired the MnRA Board for 2017. Pictured with Ruthena is 2018 Board Chair Lonnie McQuirter, 36 Lyn Refuel Station. The MnRA Board of Directors and staff thanks Ruthena for her inspired leadership!
Retail Entrepreneur And 36 Lyn Refuel Station Owner Lonnie McQuirter Selected As 2018 Board Chair
2018 Board Chair Lonnie McQuirter
(photo from Right Now Enterprises)
Lonnie McQuirter has been elected chair of the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA). In late January the Board of Directors gathered and selected McQuirter to lead the organization representing 1,200 retail stores.

The volunteer leadership role is for one year and encompasses leading a group of 28 Board members from across the state and a staff focused on growing Minnesota's retail economy and jobs.

McQuirter operates 36 Lyn Refuel Station, a convenience store based in south Minneapolis.

36 Lyn is focused on providing customers with local and better-for-you-items delivered in a convenience setting. Last year 36 Lyn was honored with Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's Fast50 award as and Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 as a top Minnesota company.

McQuirter is optimistic about the overall retail environment, saying " Broadly speaking, as retailers we know what headwinds we're facing, and we are adapting to the shifts taking place in the economy. 2018 is more about reminding people of the importance of our growing industry and all the opportunities involved."

McQuirter succeeds Grand Jeté small business owner Ruthena Fink. " We are excited to have Lonnie and his love of community help guide the Association in a time when retailers are revitalizing their in-store and online experiences," said MnRA staff president Bruce Nustad. " And we thank Ruthena for her inspired leadership throughout 2017."
Income Taxes        
Minnesota Income Tax And The Super Bowl
From Yahoo Finance, Ian Salisbury, February 4, 2018 
"Winning the Super Bowl confers glory, prize money - and, this year, a hefty tax bill from the state of Minnesota.

The prize money NFL players earn for playing in Super Bowl LII is relatively modest, at least by the standards of professional sports salaries. Each player on the winning team - that is, the Eagles - takes home an extra $112,000 bonus, and everyone on the defeated Patriots gets an extra $56,000. This prize money is the same for everyone, from the star quarterbacks to the place kickers.

And when it comes to federal taxes, the Super Bowl winners are likely to get a break this year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered the top marginal tax rate to 37% from 39.6%, and raised the threshold at which it kicks in to $500,000 from $426,700. The average NFL player makes about $1.9 million a year, so let's assume that most football pros are in the top tax bracket. For the Super Bowl winners, that's a tax bill of more than $41,000 on the prize money, down from what would have been about $44,000 under the old tax rules.

The Super Bowl winners will also owe state taxes, however. And that's where things get tricky.

This year's Super Bowl was played in Minnesota, which taxes wages at 9.85% - among the highest state income tax rates in the U.S.

And Minnesota taxes more than just the Super Bowl prize money. To figure how much they owe to Minnesota, the players on both teams will have to record the total number of days they work in 2018, as well as the fraction of those days that they spent working in Minnesota."

Video Marketing       
Study: Americans Favor YouTube, Facebook For Watching Video
From E-Marketer, Rahul Chadha
, February 2, 2018 
"Marketers simply cannot afford to ignore video advertising. eMarketer predicts that video ad spending in the US alone will reach $15.42 billion this year, and will grow to $22.18 billion by 2021.

New research from artificial intelligence-powered video creation service Wibbitz provides some insight into which social media platforms video advertisers should be paying attention to-and it's pretty much what you would expect.

The firm's December survey of US internet users found that nearly three-quarters (73.9%) used Google's video juggernaut YouTube-or Vimeo-to watch video content. It's probably safe to assume that Vimeo accounted for a small portion of viewers, given that the platform caters almost exclusively to professional content creators (or those aspiring to become professionals) with videos boasting high-end production values.

Facebook was close behind, used by about six in 10 respondents, while roughly one-quarter tuned in to video on Instagram."

Less Selection Will Define Retail In 2018
From the Retail Dive, Daphne Howland, February 5, 2018 
"Less selection and higher quality are emerging as differentiators for smaller brands entering a crowded retail market that has many consumers seeking a curated product offering that cuts through the "paradox of choice," according to research from Canadian retail tech firm Hubba, which connects retailers with brands. Hubba's findings are based on interviews with 595 U.S. small businesses.

Hubba's researchers, in their report, "The Curated Future: Why less selection, not more, will be the defining retail trend in 2018," split consumers into "savers" (those who seek out the lowest prices on commodity products) and "selectionists" (those who seek "unique and higher quality products"), and conclude that this year will be a period of smaller brands working to appeal to the choosier shoppers.

From 2011-2015, smaller brands already shifted some $18 billion from their larger, more established competitors. For example, small brands account for almost 50% of all retail grocery dollars spent in food and beverage alone today, according to the report. It's not just grocery. Small brands with annual sales of less than $1 billion are outperforming their competition in 18 of the top 25 categories, Hubba said."

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Walks In To $15 Minimum Wage Battle

From the Star Tribune, Emma Nelson, February 3, 2018

"A month into his term, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter faces pushback on one of his biggest campaign pledges: raising the city's hourly minimum wage to $15.

Business leaders, bruised after Minneapolis approved a wage hike last year, don't want a repeat in St. Paul. Activists on different sides of the debate over the tip credit are gearing up for another fight. And though City Council leaders agree the minimum wage needs to be higher, they don't agree on the number.

"The mayor is using $15 as his goal," said Council President Amy Brendmoen. "But we've continued to say the question is, 'How much, and over how much time, and for whom?'"

Though they say they intend to pass a wage ordinance this year, Brendmoen and Council Vice President Rebecca Noecker said they want more data and discussion before deciding what the minimum wage should be and how it should roll out. They're waiting for a report from the nonpartisan Citizens League, which the council commissioned last year to study the minimum wage question. A preliminary report is expected this month.

Both council members said they hope a measured approach will help avoid the acrimony of minimum wage debates in other cities.

"I don't think that the mayor and the council need to start in exactly the same place," Noecker said. "And I think it's fine for him to set that vision out and make it clear that that's what he wants, and then for the council to proceed in this very deliberate, reasoned process that we agreed to a full year ago."

Retail Jobs Up By 11,000 In January

From Chain Store Age, Marianne Wilson, February 2, 2018

"Apparel and accessories stores led the industry in hiring in January.

That's according to the National Retail Federation, which reported a net increase of 11,100 jobs in January over December. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

"These numbers reflect the strong holiday season and how retailers matched consumer demand for consumption by hiring additional staff," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "There's always a loss of jobs after the holidays, but this year at least some of the extra staffing has carried over. We expect spending to continue to be strong this year, and that's good for retail jobs."

The largest contribution to retail employment in January came in clothing and clothing accessories stores, which added 15,100 jobs. Non-store retail, which includes online, added 3,500, while building supplies and materials grew by 3,400.

Losses of 6,300 were seen in sporting goods stores, 6,200 in general merchandise and 2,900 in health and personal products 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. Warehouse jobs, for example, increased by 3,500 in January but are not counted as retail."

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