New & Noteworthy

Politics & the Retail Industry

2012 Election

The presidential election is upon us, and the economy is top of mind for consumers.  But shouldn’t it also be top of mind for the retail industry as a whole?

Enter the National Retail Federation’s new baby, a non-partisan voter resource dedicated to educating and engaging America’s retail industry.  This grassroots initiative called Retail Means Votes encourages the retail industry to educate themselves as much as possible on the issues that effect our industry and retail and corporate jobs before getting out to vote.  As we know, there are no votes cast without participation.  So getting out and voting is half the battle.  The other half is knowing what matters to you personally, and voting for the candidate who most closely aligns with your causes.  In the case of the retail industry, the Retail Means Votes initiative supports those in the retail industry by providing general information “to increase the retail industry’s presence and participation on the campaign trail, and beyond.”  NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says, here.

He further explains, “It is one piece of NRF’s efforts to frame the national debate around retail’s pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda, and drive candidates’ attention to the retail industry’s public policy priorities and their effect on the economy. With an election largely centered on the economy and jobs, it’s important to make sure America’s 3.6 million retailers and their employees know what’s at stake for the industry. Retail supports one in four American jobs, generates a quarter of GDP, and is at the foundation of the consumer-based economy.”

According to STORES Magazine, “Among shoppers surveyed for NRF’s annual holiday spending forecast, nearly 70 percent said economic and political uncertainty would affect their spending plans. Just over 60 percent said the looming “fiscal cliff” combination of tax hikes and spending cuts coming in January will affect their votes.  And a solid two-thirds said the state of the economy will affect who they vote for. As the industry that supports the jobs of one in four Americans and provides the marketplace where other industries’ goods and services are sold, retailers agree that the economy is the No. 1 issue facing our nation. If lawmakers can’t fix the economy, consumers won’t spend, retailers won’t make sales and the jobs behind the goods on retail shelves will dry up even more than they have already.”

Blacks Consulting, a retail consulting agency, suggests that retailers should carefully examine the trends within their own businesses, while at the same time making sure that they can be promotional when they need to be by building significant margin, should the economy dip again in 2013 after all the sunshine and rainbows dissipate after a president is elected.

So this election year, the NRF implores retailers to learn as much as possible about the issues facing the economy, taxes, jobs, labor, health care, and other elements that directly affect the industry.  Here’s to a solid 2013 and beyond.



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