OPERATIONS

Election 2012: The impact on retail

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The National Retail Federation on Wednesday said it looked forward to continuing to work with President Obama and the new Congress toward the goal of putting Americans back to work and ensuring that the nation’s economy remains the strongest in the world.

“The top issue facing our nation the day after the election is the same as it was the day before the election – the economy,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “The U.S. needs public policy that encourages economic growth and removes barriers to job creation.”

Industry experts said that with the reelection of President Obama, the Affordable Care Act was very unlikely to be repealed and that its implementation would speed up.

In a posting on the NRF website, Craig Sherman, VP government affairs PR, NRF, reviewed the impact of the election on other issues critical to the retail industry. Here are some highlights:

Labor: Reelection will likely mean a more active labor agenda ahead. The outcome gives more opportunity for labor decisions and actions by the administration and the National Labor Relations Board. Some of the more controversial approaches taken by the NLRB on ambush elections, micro-unions and union access to the workplace are already under legal challenge as is the challenge to the makeup of the actual board. A decision on the constitutionality of the board makeup is expected in 2013. The Department of Labor is expected to issue regulations restricting employers’ ability to seek labor-related advice from attorneys, consultants and other expects by the end of the year.

Tax: Tax issues are ultimately tied to what Congress does or doesn’t do during the lame duck session in order to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. Most of the $500 billion in tax increases are as a result of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for individuals, and could have a substantial impact on consumer spending. Some economists have warned of a recession if nothing is done.

Obama has called for expiration of the Bush cuts for individuals with income over $250,000 a year. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has re-iterated his pledge to not allow the upper income rates to expire because of their impact on small businesses that report their taxes using the individual tax system. However, members of both chambers of Congress have been working on frameworks for a bi-partisan deal to address both tax and spending issues.

Sales Tax Fairness: A new bipartisan sales tax fairness bill, granting states’ authority to require online sellers to collect sales tax on all sales if certain simplifications are adopted, is expected to be released by cosponsors reconciling differences between the current House and Senate versions. As lead cosponsor of the Senate bill, Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., will continue his push to pass the legislation while fiscal cliff negotiations continue.

Cybersecurity: Obama is expected to issue an executive order on cybersecurity in the coming days, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated he plans to consider cybersecurity legislation on the Senate Floor during the lame duck. Without a change in the majorities and presidency, not much progress is expected on the legislation unless the bill considered in the Senate is drastically different and more narrowly focused on information sharing than in the past given the business community’s vehement opposition.

To read his complete blog, click here.

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OPERATIONS

NRF pledges to work with President Obama in second term

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington — The National Retail Federation released the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay on the re-election of President Obama:



“The top issue facing our nation the day after the election is the same as it was the day before the election – the economy. The U.S. needs public policy that encourages economic growth and removes barriers to job creation. As the industry that supports one out of every four U.S. jobs, retailers look forward to continuing to work with President Obama and the new Congress toward the goal of putting Americans back to work and ensuring that our economy remains the strongest in the world.

Issues affecting the retail industry are the same critical issues facing policymakers in Washington. On behalf of retailers, their employees and their customers, we want to see health care reform that actually reduces costs instead of imposing mandates, tax reform that makes U.S. businesses more competitive, sales tax fairness that puts Main Street and online retailers on a level playing field, neutral labor policy that doesn’t favor either employers or unions over the other, credit and debit card swipe fees based on transparency and competition rather than monopolies, and removal of trade barriers that drive up consumer prices. Those are just a few of the initiatives that can help retailers create jobs, contribute to the nation’s economy and provide American families with the products they need at prices they can afford.”

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OPERATIONS

Supervalu cuts 700 jobs at Shaw’s

BY Staff Writer

West Bridgewater, Mass. — Supervalu said Monday it has cut about 700 store-level positions at the company’s Shaw’s and Star Market stores in New England.

“As we continue to look at the best ways to achieve success, we recognized an opportunity to align our work force to more effectively serve the marketplace by scheduling team members more appropriately to serve customers at the times they shop,” said Mike Stigers, president of Shaw’s. “These changes will help us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace.”

Throughout five New England states, there are 169 Shaw’s store locations employing approximately 17,000 associates.

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