October 15, 2018
Ten Organizations Named Minnesota's Retail Champions At Retail Rally Last Week
The Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) is pleased to be recognizing ten organizations leading the way in attracting consumers with the announcement of the 2018 Minnesota’s Retail Champions.

Winners accepted their awards in person during the Retail Rally event this past Tuesday at the Doubletree Hotel in St. Louis Park. The event featured a keynote speech by Amanda Brinkman, “Retail Lessons Learned While Revitalizing Main Streets Across America”. Brinkman is chief creator and host of the “Small Business Revolution - Main Street”—a critically acclaimed HULU series celebrating small businesses and revitalizing main streets across America, and chief brand and communications officer of Deluxe.

Congratulations to these 2018 Minnesota's Retail Champions:

Best Place to Work
Kwik Trip, locations throughout Minnesota

Customer Experience
Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Advocate of the Year
Mike Drury, Drury’s Furniture, Fountain, MN

Lifetime Achievement
Gordy Engel, The Foursome, Plymouth, MN

Retail Community of the Year
Alexandria, MN

Retail Employee of the Year
Paula Christensen, Grand Jeté, St. Paul, MN

Retail Innovation
Askov Finlayson, Minneapolis, MN

Retailer of the Year
Target, locations throughout Minnesota

Social Responsibility
Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store & Donation Center, Bloomington, New Hope, Richfield, St. Paul, MN

Vendor Partner of the Year
Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis, MN
Watch The Retail Champions Announcement Video!
See the reasons behind the selection of each of our 2018 Minnesota's Retail Champions in this video:
See Photos From Retail Rally, Including Award Winners
Click below to see photos from the event:
September Retail Sales Increased 3 Percent Over Last Year
From the National Retail Federation, October 15, 2018

Retail sales in September increased 0.4 percent over August on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 3 percent year-over-year unadjusted, according to calculations released today by the National Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“Retail sales were somewhat softer than expected in September and some of the weakness can be attributed to Hurricane Florence and geopolitical trade concerns,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Recent solid wage gains and other fundamentals continue to propel spending, which has been supported by tax cuts, saving and access to credit. Today’s numbers confirm an underlying strength in the industry and a solid trajectory as we go into the fourth quarter.”

September sales were up 4.5 percent on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which released overall September sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August and 4.7 percent above September 2017.

Specifics from key retail sectors during September include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 8.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • Electronics and appliance stores sales were up 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • General merchandise stores sales were up 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • Clothing and accessories stores sales were up 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • Food and beverage stores sales were up 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from August.  
  • Health and personal care stores sales were up 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year and down 0.3 percent from August.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were up 1.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • Sporting goods stores sales were down 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
  • Building materials and supplies stores sales were down 0.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
81% Of Consumers Plan To Shop Direct-To-Consumer Brands
From the Retail Dive, Daphne Howland, October 8, 2018

Price, quality and convenience are hardly new imperatives in retail, and they are driving growth in e-commerce. The tricky parts for e-commerce pure-plays are that offering convenience requires providing free shipping and returns and that it's more difficult to connect with customers online.

That latter challenge is helped by social media. "[T]he new middleman is not a shopping mall/retailer but social – Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, etc.," notes PipeCandy.

But that doesn't make it cheap. "All D2C companies are competing through the same channels, targeting the same customers — mostly millennials — driving up average [customer acquisition cost]. As some in the industry say, 'CAC is the new rent.'"

That's showing up on the ground. The most successful direct-to-consumer companies, including Warby Parker, Casper and Untuckit (among others), have all moved to open hundreds of stores. Returns continue to cause trouble for online players because customers can only check out the merchandise properly once they've seen it. More than half (58%) of consumers shop for clothing at long-standing physical stores, 44% shop for footwear/shoes there, more than 1 in 3 shoppers (38%) shop for household items like pots and pans there, and nearly a quarter (23%) shop for beauty products at legacy retailers, according to research from GPShopper, a Synchrony solution.

"Contrary to popular belief, in-store shopping isn't dead. Novelty technology has no doubt taken retail by storm, enabling shoppers to make purchases directly through Instagram or augmented reality (AR) supported apps," GPShopper Co-founder and CMO Maya Mikhailov said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. "However, retailers cannot lose sight of the fact that some old school strategies haven't died out, meaning they cannot forget the in-store experience in favor of social media shopping."