April 15, 2019
Representative Marion O'Neill, chief author of a bill defining organized retail crime (ORC) in Minnesota Statute (right) with MnORCA Executive Director Charlie Anderson and Rep. Dave Pinto (left) at last week's Public Policy Forum at the Capitol.
We Are Looking For Speakers For The October 2 Retail Rally!
We're looking for top-notch, TED-talk style presentations for MnRA's 3rd annual Retail Rally event the afternoon of October 2 in Golden Valley! Retail Rally will feature 5-6 TED-talk talk presentations aimed at 125 Minnesota retailers and their key business partners.

Presentation proposals surrounding innovative strategies, concepts and insights in customer engagement, sales and marketing, operations and workforce are preferred.

Learn more at www.mnretail.org/speak. Proposals due May 6.
Now Is A Good Time To Work In Retail
From Axiou, Dion Rabiouin, April 8, 2019

The March jobs report showed that nationwide, wage growth is settling in right above 3%, but it has been growing much faster for retail workers. Unlike most segments of the economy, retail workers' wages are now growing faster than they were during the boom years of the early 2000s.

The big picture: The outperformance is being driven by a combination of state-by-state legislation and a shrinking talent pool.

Retail wages stand apart from the crowd, but data shows that broadly low-wage workers are beginning to see higher wage gains, on a percentage basis, than high-wage workers.
A Majority Of Retailers Struggle With Inventory Forecasting
From the Retail Dive, Matt Leonard, April 15, 2019

A survey of corporate retail professionals conducted by Wakefield Research and Bossa Nova Robotics found 73% of respondents consider inaccurate forecasting "a constant issue" for their store. Another 66% said the same for price inaccuracy, and 65% said they struggle with the ability to track inventory through their supply chain, according to the report, which was emailed to sister publication Supply Chain Dive.

It also found that 87% of respondents consider inaccurate inventory a larger factor in revenue loss than theft. The survey has a sample size of 100, a margin of error of 9.8% and was conducted online.

What companies should do about this was less clear from the survey results. It found 67% of retailers agree that analyzing inventory is not an effective use of employee time, but 70% also agree automating the monitoring of on-shelf conditions is not worth the investment. It did find that 74% of retailers think robots, if used in their stores, would increase inventory accuracy.
MnRA Partners With MnORCA On Organized Retail Crime Forum At State Capitol
MnRA was proud to partner with the Minnesota Organized Retail Crime Association on a Public Policy Forum surrounding organized retail crime (ORC) last week at the State Capitol.

Joining retailers and law enforcement for the discussion were Senator Mark Koran, and Representatives Marion O'Neill, Nick Zerwas and David Pinto.

For more information on ORC legislation contact Savannah Sepic at savannah@mnretail.org.

Pictured above: Sen. Mark Koran (left) and Rep. Nick Zerwas share their perspectives on ORC legislation.
Tax Day Reminder: Tariffs Are Paid By Americans
From Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, April 15, 2019

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the nationwide campaign against tariffs supported by trade organizations across industries, today joined The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), the non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public about the government’s effects on the economy, in sending U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a letter reminding the administration that tariffs are taxes paid by Americans.

The letter requests that the American people be reimbursed for the cost of the trade war.

American families and businesses have paid an estimated $69 billion in tariffs since 2018, which equates to more than $500 for every U.S. household. In the letter, the campaign notes that, counter to the President’s repeated statements that China is paying billions of dollars in tariffs to the U.S. Treasury, it is in fact U.S. consumers and businesses that have borne the burden. The letter cites the President’s own Council of Economic Advisors who recently noted in their Annual Economic Report to the President that U.S. consumers are paying for the tariffs.
Nomination Deadline For Minnesota's Retail Champions Awards Extended To April 22!
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.

Nominations are open through April 22 and can be done at www.retailrally.com. Take a moment to nominate a Minnesota Retail Champion today!
The Survival Strategy For Retail Is Experience
From Forbes, Ashik Ahmed, April 8, 2019

To make retail shopping a desirable event in today’s internet-driven culture, you must deliver on the promise that a visit to your store is less of an errand and more of an experience.

Retailers are beginning to understand that consumers are seeking more from a trip to the mall than a handoff of goods.

Whole Foods offers not only groceries, but cooking classes, a wine tasting bar and in-store masseuses. Lululemon boasts in-store yoga. REI invites its customers to try out gear on their rock climbing walls. Movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse engages patrons with curated events like talkback screenings and film tie-in food and drink menus.

These are a few examples of what brands are doing to entice customers into their environments. They know that retail’s best chance of survival is to redefine and enrich the customer experience. But what is the most effective way of going about creating unique and authentic interactions (and transactions)?

In-Store Still Offers Promise. In malls and shopping centers, clearance or going-out-of-business signs hang like flags of surrender. Department stores that once anchored the old-school retail experience are either limping along or shuttering, like the 125-year-old Sears which filed for bankruptcy protection late last year.
New MnRA Golf Event At Topgolf June 6
Beginning In August, Hands-Free Law Should Save Lives
From the Star Tribune, Editorial Board, April 12, 2019

It’s been a long time coming, but Minnesota lawmakers have at last taken a common-sense step to improve public safety on state roads. On Friday, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill requiring hands-free use of electronic devices while driving.

Beginning Aug. 1, Minnesota law will wisely prohibit the use of hand-held cellphones and other devices to cut down on distracted driving. The legislation allows use of voice-activated commands in a “hands-free mode” for calls and other functions. The legislation also marks welcome bipartisan action for a Legislature in which the DFL House and GOP Senate are at odds over numerous issues as they continue work on a biennial budget.

Under the new law, motorists who violate the statute could receive a ticket that would cost $50 for a first offense. A second or subsequent violation would jump to a $275 fine. A guide on the new law can be found at http://bit.ly/HandsFreeGuide.

Minnesota will join 16 other states with similar laws. From their experiences, it’s clear that the hands-free restriction is needed. Most of the states that have adopted hands-free laws have had fewer traffic fatalities within two years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.