August 27, 2018
Register now for MnRA's new Retail+Policy Legislator Meet & Greet Dinner August 30 at the Mall of America.
Last Chance To Register: Hobnob With Legislators This Thursday At Our New Retail+Policy Dinner At Mall of America
Join us and the two dozen legislators already registered to attend our new Retail+Policy Legislator Meet & Greet Dinner this Thursday!

Event Details:
Retail+Policy Legislator Meet & Greet Dinner
Mall of America Parkview Event Center
Thursday, August 30, 2018

This event includes appetizers and a cash bar before dinner catered by Crave!

Pre-registration required. Call (651) 227-6631 or register online now. This event is open to members and invited guests.

More about this event:
The Retail+Policy Legislator Meet & Greet Dinner is as the name suggests, an opportunity for retailers and policy makers to get together for some conversation surrounding the retail industry and what we can do together to help our local and state economies grow. Retailers have ideas. Legislators have ideas. And this is an opportunity for us to share those ideas in a relaxed environment.

In addition, we will take a moment to celebrate strides made in the area of sales tax fairness not only marked by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, but the work done by the Minnesota Legislature over the past decade to level the playing field.
Study Reveals Three Unexpected Categories Driving Growth For Physical Retailers
From Chain Store Age, Marianne Wilson, August 17, 2018

Study reveals three unexpected categories driving growth for physical retailers

According to a new report from general merchandise and health-beauty-and-wellness trade association GMDC, books, trial and travel, and grilling are continually beating total store growth within physical retailers — and each of these categories represents products commonly considered impulse purchases. The growth in sales among these three product categories reinforces the impulse purchase as a focal area for growth among brick-and-mortar retailers, GMDC advised.

“Online retailers typically underperform with impulse categories, as most shoppers plan their online purchases,” said Mark Mechelse, VP insights & communications with GMDC. “Most, if not all, online shopping is highly focused on price and value, and cannot deliver the immersive experience as that of a store and its associates. This is key for brick-and-mortar retailers to understand, as impulse purchases generally hold higher profit margins among all store merchandise.”

Here are some highlights from the GMDC research:

  • The growth in the trial and travel product category fits many other growing shopper trends. The rise in popularity of hospitality rentals, such as Airbnb, has contributed to the sales growth for this category with hosts purchasing trial-size products for guests. Other contributing factors include the opportunity to test out brands prior to committing to a larger purchase and professionals combining exercise with their workdays.

  • Between 65% to 85% of general merchandisers’ book sales are considered impulse driven. The surge toward e-books has declined, with stores reporting an increase in sales of physical books. Eighty-five percent of book sales are print, and print book units are up 14% since 2012. Millennials comprise the largest book buying demographic, making 37% of all print purchases. Data indicates that increased book sales reflect a wave of nostalgia toward traditional and tangible products.

  • Grilling has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, and is on the rise year-round, with 63% of grillers reporting activity throughout the year in 2015. (Off-season growth accounted for 97% of total category sales growth.) Also, grill-related products are not considered conducive to online shopping due to shipping logistics and cost of bulky items for delivery.
Save The Date: October 9, Retail Rally
Is The State Fair Worth The Price Tag For Families?
From WCCO TV, Esme Murphy, August 27, 2018

Minnesotans everywhere love the fair, but let’s face it — it’s not cheap. The State Fair has a lot of attractions but among the most popular are the ATMs, because going to the Fair is going to cost you some change.

WCCO’s Esme Murphy did the math for a family of four. To get in, it costs $28 for two adults, $24 for two children, $14 to park the car, and $30 for a sheet of Midway tickets. That’s $96 right off the bat. But if you add on any fair food or any other attractions, that total adds up quickly.

The question is: is it worth it?

“So far I think we are looking at $150,” Erin Pearson, who was at the fair with her four children, said. She added, though, that it’s worth it for their family.

The State Fair has not raised admission for four years, and its CEO Jerry Hammer says the fair is still a value for entertainment.

“Right now, if you go to a 3-D movie, it’s more than it is to get into the Fair,” he said.

The Star Tribune picks up the tab for its restaurant critic Rick Nelson to try all the new Fair foods. This year’s total was $444.

“My thing is kind of a freak show,” he said.

Nelson, who has been doing fair food reviews for decades, says for the most part the food prices are worth it. He and WCCO’s own Jason DeRusha gave the $12 BLT at the Farmers Union a top rating.
“I think over 20 years I don’t see the prices having jumped the way say college tuition has jumped over 20 years,” Nelson said.
Generation Z Is Shaping The Back-To-Class Shopping Season
From the National Retail Federation, August 27, 2018

As school starts for another year, students and their families continue to shop for back-to-school items. And the back-to-college shopper is contributing the biggest share of that shopping this year, spending about $250 more than the average K-12 shopper for a total of nearly $55 billion. Many of those shopping for themselves are members of Generation Z, born after 1995.

“This is a group that's really willing to put themselves out there, really willing to make their own money,” NRF Director of Retail and Consumer Insights Katherine Cullen says. “And as a result, when they come into their full spending power, they're going to be really critical.”

On this episode of Retail Gets Real, Cullen discusses trends from NRF’s annual survey of back-to-class shoppers and how this generation of consumers that grew up with the internet and smartphones is shaping retail.

With Generation Z’s “digital natives” flexing their spending muscles, online shopping, curbside pickup and shipping directly to campus are popular options — along with use of some innovative high-tech. “If you're shopping for your dorm room, there are these virtual experiences where you can walk through a digital space,” Cullen says, “and see how that comforter will look or that wallpaper.”