February 6, 2017

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Holiday Update 
NRF Says Consumers Will Spend $18.2 Billion At Valentine's     

From the National Retail Federation, February 1, 2017

After a decade-long increase in Valentine's Day spending is expected to finally see a market correction this year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $136.57, down from last year's record-high $146.84. Total spending is expected to reach $18.2 billion, down from $19.7 billion last year, which was also a record.

"Valentine's Day continues to be a popular gift-giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget. Consumers will find that retailers recognize that their customers are looking for the best deals and will offer good bargains just as they did during the holiday season."

Starting at an average $119.67 for a total of $16.9 billion in 2007, Valentine's spending grew most years over the past decade before hitting last year's record. But the number of people surveyed who plan to celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10 percentage points over the same period from 63 percent in 2007 to 54 percent this year.

This year's survey found consumers plan to spend an average $85.21 on their significant other/spouse, $26.59 on other family members such as children or parents, $6.56 on children's classmates/teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers, and $4.44 on pets." 

Legislative Update 
Uniformity Bill Heard At The Capitol 

From the Voice of Alexandria, February 4, 2017

"A bill that would stop cities from enacting local labor laws was approved by the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee late Thursday on a 13-9 party-line, roll-call vote.  Representative Paul Anderson (R) of Starbuck sits on this committee.  He offers a recap of Thursday's meeting.

Cities, towns, counties and the Metropolitan Council would still be able to set labor standards for their employees or for private businesses they contract with or as contract terms for projects that include local government financial assistance.

The prospect of the state, in the name of uniformity, preempting local government from adopting employment ordinances drew an overflow crowd to the committee hearing room, with more than two dozen testifiers pro and con before a break was taken.

The byword for proponents was "patchwork," as in the hodgepodge of rules they said would result if officials in every Minnesota city write their own employment regulations.

"Imagine even just a fraction of that," said Brian Carr, government relations director for the Minnesota Retailers Association. "It would be extremely difficult."

Testifiers representing restaurants, bowling alleys, contractors, truckers, grocers and bar owners said they'd be overburdened without uniform statewide labor laws."  

New Law Lets For-Profit HMOs Into Minnesota, The Last State To Keep Them Out

From the Pioneer Press, David Montgomery, February 3, 2017

"Minnesota legislators swept away a 40-year-old law last month, a controversial add-on to a rescue package for Minnesotans' health insurance premiums.

The change lets for-profit companies be licensed as health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, in the state. Minnesota had restricted HMOs to nonprofits ever since it first authorized HMOs in 1973.

The change is a cultural shift for Minnesota with uncertain results for the insurance marketplace and consumers. The much-debated nonprofit-only clause had withstood decades of legislative challenges until this year.

Supporters say the move could introduce more competition to the state's troubled individual insurance market, where premiums have soared in recent years.

"I favor a chance to have a real market and real competition in the health care world," said state Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka. "Not (just) to drive prices down, but also to make sure people are satisfied."

Others like Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, say for-profit insurers would be more expensive and "less in the public interest" than the current nonprofit HMOs."

MnRA Leadership
MnRA Thanks Thompson For His Leadership , Fink Assumes 2017 Chair Role
2016 Board Chair
Glen Thompson

With the new calendar year comes member leadership transition at the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA).

MnRA thanks outgoing Board Chair Glen Thompson, representing JCPenney, for his leadership throughout 2016.

Glen was an outstanding and engaged leader.  In addition to leading MnRA, Glen celebrated his retirement from JCPenney at year-end.
I n the c oming weeks, MnRA will release its 2016 Annual Report, h ighlighting accomplishments and recapping activities for the year.

2017 Board Chair
Ruthena Fink

Ruthena Fink assumed the role of 2017 Board Chair last week.  

Ruthena is the owner of Grand Jeté, a retail dance store on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Ruthena brings over 30 years of retail experience to her leadership role at MnRA.

Hillary Feder, owner of Hillary's in Hopkins joins Ruthena in a senior leadership role as vice chair of the Board for 2017.
Thank you to Glen, Ruthena, and Hillary for their service to Minnesota's retail industry through leadership roles at the Association!
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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