September 10, 2018
Members spent time in Washington, D.C. last week visiting with elected officials as part of the National Retail Federation's Retail Advocates Summit. Attendees pictured above (left to right): Steve Rush, Rush Law & Advocacy, PLLC; Bruce Nustad, MnRA; U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; Roberta Bonoff, Creative Kidstuff; Lonnie McQuirter, 36 Lyn Refuel Station.
Citizens League Outlines Three $15 Minimum Wage Scenarios For St. Paul, With And Without Tip Credits
From the Pioneer Press, Fred Melo, August 31, 2018

After 14 weeks of study, the Citizens League has released a series of recommendations that spell out three different ways the city of St. Paul could institute a $15 minimum wage — with or without partial exemptions for tipped employees at “full-service” restaurants that serve liquor.

At the request of the St. Paul City Council, the nonpartisan public policy organization studied how best to roll out a citywide minimum wage increase. The 446-page report, released Friday evening, outlines three scenarios for implementing a $15 minimum wage over the course of four to seven years.

All three scenarios include a recommendation for a $15 per hour minimum wage that would be indexed to, or increase with, inflation, and all three scenarios include exemptions of 180 to 365 days for youth training programs, as well as exemptions for disability employment programs that have applied for special approvals from the city.

Two scenarios recommend no “tip credit,” or no adjustment for tipped employees. A third scenario includes a tip credit for full-service restaurants that serve liquor, which would be re-evaluated after a probationary period.

“The city council still has some work ahead of it,” said B. Kyle, president and CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and a co-chair of the 21-member study committee. “The challenge to the city council is that the committee did not arrive at one recommendation. Instead, we offered three scenarios, along with additional considerations.”

Kyle added, “The process worked. That’s what I know for sure. I remain concerned about city-driven wage requirements. … There are still open issues.”
October 9, Retail Rally: Where Innovative Retailers And Their Partners Gather, Learn and Celebrate
August Retail Jobs Increase Nearly 90,000 Over 2017
From the National Retail Federation, September 7, 2018

Retail industry employment in August increased by 89,100 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year despite a seasonally adjusted drop of 9,700 jobs from July, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, U.S. businesses added 201,000 jobs over July, the Labor Department said.

"The strong overall job growth across industries reflects the tight labor market but also shows that the economy is strong,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Hiring is an important driver of consumer confidence and a confident consumer is a confident spender. Consumers are continuing to drive the economy forward, but the developing trade war remains a threat to the progress we’re seeing.”

Kleinhenz said the monthly drop was not a cause for concern because of large employment fluctuations typically seen during the summer. The year-over-year increase shows the strength and health of the retail industry, and the industry continues to have a sizeable number of job openings, he said.

August’s numbers followed a revised monthly gain of 300 jobs in July over June, which had originally been reported as a 3,100-job increase. Coupled with a significant downward revision by the Labor Department to June’s numbers, the three-month moving average in August showed a loss of 18,800 jobs.
September 18: Supplier Partnerships Seminar
Join the Minnesota Retailers Association for "Supplier Partnerships | Dating For Business?" featuring Juli Lassow of JHL Solutions .
Every business depends on key partnerships in order to thrive: customers, employees, board members and suppliers. Suppliers provide the lifeblood to your products and services, bringing your vision to life – but how often do we take time to cultivate these partnerships? How do we ensure that the totality of our supplier partnerships is a reflection of the values and principles of your organization? How do we gather their feedback and insights, to enable our own growth. These questions and more, will be discussed at this seminar.
Event Details:
Supplier Partnerships | Dating For Business?
Roseville Public Library
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
10:15 - 11:30 a.m.
Pre-registration preferred. Call (651) 227-6631 or register online now .
Brick-And-Mortar Stores Raked In 84% Of Holiday Sales In 2017
From the Retail Dive, Daphne Howland, September 4, 2018

Online retail sales at the holidays last year rose 14.7% year over year to $108 billion, with Amazon grabbing most of that. Some 38% of online holiday sales went to Amazon in 2016, and that rose to 50% last year, according to Gartner L2's Intelligence Report: Omnichannel 2018.

Still, holiday sales mostly take place in stores, according to the report. Nearly 85% of holiday sales last year were in brick-and-mortar stores, and that can give retailers an edge online, Gartner L2 said.

That means tying together online and offline, as more legacy retailers are doing. Over 60% of retailers in Gartner L2's index last year showcased their in-store inventory on their online product pages, up from 35% in 2016, while 56% posted their holiday shipping guide online last year.

Black Friday through Christmas serves as a gantlet for retailers to run, a period that tests their ability to capture growing e-commerce sales.

That increasingly depends on meeting shopper expectations for fulfillment, being transparent about holiday shipping and transacting on mobile, according to L2. "To compete against the leading players in digital retail, [direct-to-consumer] brands must provide a series of baseline and advanced omnichannel features and functionalities, including real-time inventory on product pages and expedited shippings, in time for the holidays, all while communicating offerings," according to the report.

Legacy retailers can't escape that, either, according to L2. Although e-commerce holiday sales appear to be growing and online retail continues to be in flux, last year provides some clues to consumer trends. For now, the retailers with the most advanced omnichannel operations (and Amazon) appear to be outpacing other players.
Department of Revenue Offers Sales And Use Classes
From the Minnesota Department of Revenue, August 30, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Revenue offers Sales and Use Tax classes designed for business owners, bookkeepers, purchasing agents, and accountants who want knowledge of the law and how to meet their tax obligations.

The following upcoming Basic Sales and Use Tax classes have openings:

 Forest Lake on September 4, 2018
 St. Paul on September 12, 2018
 St. Cloud on September 13, 2018
 Mankato on September 19, 2018
 Rochester on September 27, 2018
 Marshall on September 27, 2018

The following upcoming Sales and Use Tax for Manufacturers class has openings:

St. Paul on September 19, 2018

The following webinar also has openings:

Basic Sales and Use Tax Webinar on September 19, 2018

Note: We are continually working on additional classes. If you do not find a class scheduled in your area, please check back later.