February 22, 2021
Retail Day At The Capitol - March 16 - Register Now For Free
Your story meets legislators at the Minnesota Retailers Association's virtual Retail Day at the Capitol.

Our program for 2021 offers a chance to hear from and interact with key legislators on issues impacting Minnesota's retailers, consumers and workers.

Due to COVID restrictions at the State Capitol this year's event will be conducted via Zoom with a modified format.

With one in four jobs in Minnesota directly connected to retail, our elected officials now more than ever need to understand the impact of their decisions on retail businesses.

No cost to attend. RSVP requested ASAP. This is a members and invited guests only event and is not open to the public. Pre-registration required.
Retailers Support Vendor Collections Allowance Before Senate Tax Committee
MnRA was pleased to testify in support of SF 100 (vendor collection allowance) before the Senate Tax Committee last week.

MnRA President Bruce Nustad joined 36 Lyn refuel station owner and MnRA Board member Lonnie McQuirter as well as Mike Karbo with the Minnesota Grocers Association before the committee.

McQuirter discussed all the costs involved with being the State's sales tax collection partner, as well as what being able to retain a small percentage of sales taxes collected to offset those costs would mean to his employees and for investment in the store. Click here to watch the testimony (go to timestamp 32:30).

MnRA thanks McQuirter for testifying and Senator Roger Chamberlain for leading the Senate effort on this legislation.
Know an amazing retails or key business partner?
When innovative retailers and their partners gather, learn and celebrate at Retail Rally in October, we'll roll out the red carpet to recognize ten Minnesota organizations and individuals for being champions of the industry.

Help recognize the retail industry by nominating a Minnesota Retail Champion in one or more of these categories today:

  • Best Place To Work
  • Customer Experience
  • Advocate of the Year
  • Outstanding Achievement
  • Retail Community of the Year
  • Retailer of the Year
  • Retail Employee of the Year
  • Retail Innovation
  • Social Responsibility
  • Vendor Partner of the Year

Nominations are open through March 12 and are easy at www.mnretail.org/champ!
Minnesota administers more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine
From 5 Eyewitness News, February 19, 2021

Friday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state has administered more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the governor’s office, 728,081 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 286,543 people have completed the two-dose series.

"This is a milestone day. Minnesotans have received 1 million doses of these safe, effective, live-saving vaccines," Walz said. "Every time a Minnesotan gets their shot, they are protecting themselves and moving our entire state closer to ending this pandemic. We still need more vaccine from the federal government and we have a long road ahead, but we can truly see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The state is currently working to immunize people who are at a higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19, which includes people in long-term care setting and those over the age of 65. Health care workers, educators and child care providers are also eligible.
MnRA partner advertisement:
Walz releases "Vaccine Connector", recommends Minnesotans to register for notification system so they know when and where to access vaccine
From the Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson, February 18, 2021

Minnesota debuted an online COVID-19 Vaccine Connector on Thursday that will notify all residents when they are eligible for shots and give senior citizens immediate access to a lottery for appointments at state-operated sites.

While initial doses are reserved for 1.5 million seniors, health care workers, educators and long-term care residents, Gov. Tim Walz said the tool at least gives people confidence that they will know when it is their turn to get the vaccine. Registrants provide their birth date and contacts, but also can opt to enter demographic and employment information, which can be used later on to determine their vaccine eligibility.

"We still have a frustratingly limited vaccine supply from the federal government, but every Minnesotan should know their chance to get a vaccine will come," Walz said.

More than 175,000 people signed up by 5 p.m. Thursday, reflecting the eagerness for vaccine against an infectious disease that has caused 6,404 deaths and 25,341 hospitalizations of Minnesotans.

Roughly 89% of Minnesota's COVID-19 deaths have been in people 65 and older, including 12 of 14 deaths reported Thursday.

Unrestricted access to vaccine is months away, but recent federal purchases of more doses could make that happen by summer, said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner. "That's a lot better news than late into the fall."
MnRA 30 minute legislative update calls each Monday during session
For members seeking an insiders look at the legislative week, MnRA hosts a weekly 10:00 a.m. Monday conference. This members-only activity takes place each week of legislative session through its conclusion and includes opportunities for retailers to get involved in the policy making process. To obtain dial-in information for these calls contact Savannah Sepic at savannah@mnretail.org or call us at (651) 227-6631.
January retail sales show strong increase boosted by stimulus funds and momentum from record holidays
From the National Retail Federation, February 17, 2021

Retail sales grew sharply in January as government stimulus checks provided a boost and momentum from 2020’s record holiday season carried over into the new year, the National Retail Federation said today.

“January’s retail sales numbers reflect a very strong start for consumers and retailers as we look ahead to a critical year curbing the global pandemic and strengthening our economic recovery,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers and the economy as a whole remain in good shape despite unprecedented adversity over the past year, and congressional action has been a lifeline for households and businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We’ve convened retail leaders and communicated directly with the White House that it is critically important for the government to work with retailers to get the vaccine into communities and administered as quickly and as safely as possible.”

“We expected retail spending to ramp up in January thanks to the latest round of stimulus checks and better covid trends, and it clearly did,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “There was none of the falloff in spending that we often find post-holiday and the increase was even better than expected. There is plenty of purchasing power available for most consumers, and the pickup in shopping has even been reflected in the number of hours worked by retail employees. Confidence is building thanks to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and states and local governments are beginning to remove restrictions on economic activity. Going forward, I expect consumer spending to build on this momentum.”

The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in January were up 5.3 percent seasonally adjusted from December and up 7.4 percent year-over-year. That compares with a monthly drop of 1 percent but a yearly gain of 2.5 percent in December. Despite month-over-month declines in the last quarter of 2020, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June, according to Census data.
Ex-mobster sheds light on organized crime in retail
From Chain Store Age, Dan Berthiaume, February 16, 2021

Chain Store Age recently spoke with John Pennisi, a former member of the New York-based Lucchese Mafia family, about the extent of organized crime’s involvement in retail and specific ways criminal enterprises attempt to exploit the industry for profit. Pennisi was blunt about organized crime having an established retail presence.

“Organized crime is heavily involved in retail,” stated Pennisi. “They used to be even more involved in areas like the [New York City] Garment Center and fish market, but [former federal prosecutor] Rudy Giuliani chased them out of those areas.”

However, based on Pennisi’s comments, retailers should be sure to partner with established, trusted providers in transportation and waste disposal.

“Trucking is an essential part of retail,” he said. “Retailers may have to pay a higher shipping rate because the Mob puts a tax on moving goods, which goes to them. You pay the cost to move the product; it’s their way to get involved.”