National Retail Federation supports William Emanuel as National Labor Relations Board nominee

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jun-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today offered support for William Emanuel, President Trump’s latest nominee for the National Labor Relations Board, and urged the Senate to swiftly confirm both Emanuel and Trump’s earlier nominee, Marvin Kaplan.

“Mr. Emanuel is a highly qualified and well-respected labor attorney who will bring decades of relevant expertise to the board,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Retailers are confident that he will be a fair arbiter of the law and urge the Senate to confirm him promptly.”

“Over the past eight years, the retail industry and employers across the country have faced a crushing regulatory burden that has created immense uncertainty in labor relations and made it much harder to grow,” French said. “Much of this uncertainty has stemmed from the NLRB’s pursuit of an activist agenda that consistently put the interests of labor unions before the rights of employers and employees. Both job creators and employees will benefit from a more balanced approach in labor relations.”

Emanuel and Kaplan would fill the two current vacancies on the five-member board.

In recent years, retailers have been burdened by NLRB decisions on policies such as the joint-employer standard, micro-unions and changes to union election procedures.

About NRF
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

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Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF condemns House Ways and Means proposal to phase in Border Adjustment Tax over five years

Brady Suggestion Remains a ‘Massive Middle Class Tax Hike’

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jun-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (June 13, 2017) condemned a proposal by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady to phase in a Border Adjustment Tax over five years.

“Phasing in a job-killing plan like the Border Adjustment Tax does nothing to fix its many flaws,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “It is a massive middle class tax hike based on unproven economic theory, and doing it more slowly won’t make it any less harmful to millions of American workers. If Chairman Brady is truly listening to his colleagues in the House and the Senate, he will drop the proposal altogether and move on with a new tax reform plan that can win majority support in Congress and gain the President’s signature.”

The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and NRF has led the retail industry in advocating for comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower the rate. Retail benefits from few of the tax breaks that lower tax bills for other industries, and most retail companies pay at or close to the full 35 percent rate.

The “Better Way” tax reform plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, includes a provision that would, in effect, create a 20 percent border tax on imported goods by ending retailers’ ability to deduct the cost of merchandise that they import. That means retailers would be taxed at nearly the full selling price of imported merchandise rather than just their profit.

The border adjustment tax would have significant implications for retailers and other industries that rely on complicated global supply chains, including automobiles, technology, food and fuel. Analysis by NRF and many of its member companies indicates that the proposed tax would drive up costs, erode profits and exceed any benefits from a lower corporate tax rate. It would require consumer price increases of 15 percent or more to retain profitability, effectively creating a new tax paid by consumers.

The BAT would also put at risk millions more retail-supported jobs than it would theoretically create for manufacturing. A BAT could cause retailers to see tax bills three to five times the amount of their profits, threatening to drive some merchants out of business. The small retailers that make up 98 percent of the retail industry and provide 40 percent of its jobs would be at the biggest risk.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s econom

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source; NRF

NRF’s David French: The border tax proposal would cause the tax burden on retailers to skyrocket

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Retailers would “have no choice” but to pass the higher costs on to consumers if Congress passes a proposed $1 trillion border adjustment tax as part of tax reform, the National Retail Federation said today (May 23, 2017).

“The border tax proposal would cause the tax burden on retailers to skyrocket,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French wrote in a statement submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee. “Under this proposal, many retailers will have a tax burden that is larger than their profits. …Obviously, they will have no choice but to pass the tax cost forward to their customers. …Small businesses may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of the border tax on prices.”

The committee is holding a hearing this morning on the border adjustment proposal, which is part of the “Better Way” tax reform plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

“The retail industry has been a strong proponent of income tax reform,” French said. “We believe that income tax reform that lowers the rates and broadens the tax base can provide economic growth for the economy as a whole and can be good for the American consumer. We do not believe that a new tax system that shifts the burden of taxation to the consumer is good for our industry, which is the nation’s largest employer, or good for the American consumer.”

The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and NRF has led the retail industry in advocating for comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower the corporate tax rate. Retail benefits from few of the tax breaks that lower tax bills for other industries, and pays at or close to the full 35 percent statutory rate.

Among other provisions, the Ryan-Brady plan would create a 20 percent tax on imported goods by ending retailers’ ability to deduct the cost of merchandise that they import. That means retailers would be taxed at nearly the full selling price of imported merchandise rather than just their profit, amounting to $1 trillion in extra costs over the first 10 years.

The border adjustment tax would have significant implications for retailers and other industries that import goods into the United States, including automobiles, technology, food and fuel. Analysis by NRF and many of its member companies indicates that the proposed tax would drive up costs, erode profits and exceed any benefits from a lower rate. It would require price increases of 15 percent or more to retain profitability, effectively creating a new tax paid by consumers.

The BAT would also put at risk millions of retail-supported jobs. A BAT could cause retailers to see tax bills three to five times the amount of their profits, threatening to drive some merchants out of business. The small retailers that make up 98 percent of the retail industry and provide 40 percent of its jobs would be at the biggest risk.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF urges Congress to focus on updating the existing federal income tax system rather than moving toward a consumption tax

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (May 18, 2017) urged Congress to focus on updating the existing federal income tax system through comprehensive reform rather than moving toward a consumption tax. Under either approach, Congress should reject a proposed $1 trillion border adjustment tax that would drive up prices for consumers and cost the economy jobs, NRF said.

“The most important aspect of any tax reform measure is its impact on the economy, jobs and the consumer,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said, noting that consumer spending represents two-thirds of the economy and that retail supports one out of four U.S. jobs.

“Tax reform that shifts the burden of the corporate tax to the consumer would present an unnecessary risk to our nation’s economy,” French said. “Instead, we support a reform of the current income tax structure by providing a broad base and low rates. We believe that approach rather than a shift toward a consumption tax would bring the greatest economic efficiency and stimulate economic growth without causing the economic dislocations inherent in the transition to a new tax system.”

French’s comments came in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, which is scheduled to hold a hearing today on “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs.” The hearing is expected to focus on the “Better Way” tax reform proposal sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

The Ryan-Brady plan would transition the United States from its longstanding income tax system toward a consumption tax system. French said studies conducted for NRF show that alone would cause retail spending and employment to decline for an estimated six years. The plan also includes a proposal for a 20 percent border adjustment tax on imports, which French said would cause an even steeper decline in spending. NRF is leading the retail industry’s opposition to the BAT proposal, which is expected to be the subject of an additional hearing next week.

“We believe there are better options for tax reform that would achieve economic growth and not shift the burden to the consumer,” French said. He recommended that lawmakers consider as examples the 1986 Tax Reform Act enacted during the Reagan administration and the Tax Reform Act of 2014, which was proposed by former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., but never saw passage.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

Contact:
Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

House Action To Repeal Obamacare Welcomed By Retailers

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (May 4, 2017) applauded the House for passing the American Health Care Act, legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Nothing in health care is ever easy or simple, but the House has shown its commitment to closing the book on Obamacare,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.  “The American Health Care Act is not perfect, but if we are going to get to a health care system that works without mandates and stifling regulation, the process has to start somewhere. This bill is an important milestone on that journey.”

On Wednesday, NRF sent a letter to House leadership urging lawmakers to take advantage of a “real opportunity” to repeal the ACA rather than continue to debate details of the bill and risk failing to move forward.

Like its predecessor, the revised version of the American Health Care Act passed by the House today would use budget reconciliation procedures to repeal key parts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. That means the legislation could be passed by the Senate with only 51 votes rather than the 60 normally required to overcome an expected filibuster, but also limits the repeal to provisions of the ACA that have a revenue impact. NRF nonetheless believes that the bill would achieve substantial change.

An earlier version of the bill was scheduled for a vote in March but action was delayed because conservative House members wanted a more complete repeal of the ACA.

Among other actions supported by NRF, the legislation would effectively repeal the ACA’s employer mandate that businesses provide health insurance to full-time workers. While budget reconciliation does not allow the mandate to be repealed outright, the bill would reduce the penalties for non-compliance to zero.

The legislation would also delay the so-called Cadillac Tax on high-value health plans until 2026, and would repeal its health insurance tax, medical device tax and pharmaceutical tax permanently. It would also increase flexibility for health savings accounts and would take a substantial first step toward Medicaid reform.

NRF opposed passage of Obamacare and has sought its repeal, while working with Congress to mitigate the impact of its most onerous provisions. Rather than lowering costs, the controversial law emphasizes mandates that have driven up health insurance expenses for both employers and employees.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF calls on the House Financial Services Committee to reject efforts to repeal debit card swipe fee reform

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (May 2, 2017) called on the House Financial Services Committee to reject efforts to repeal debit card swipe fee reform as it considers approval of the Financial Choice Act.

“Debit card swipe fee reform has brought competition and transparency to the debit card payments market,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Repealing reform would only undermine transparency and competition, further lining banks’ pockets.”

“Swipe fees are a major concern, especially for small retailers,” French said. “If debit swipe fee reform is repealed, costs to retailers will only increase, meaning higher prices for consumers and less opportunity for retailers to grow their businesses, provide jobs and support community efforts. Rather than repeal a successful provision of law that has brought competition into the payments market, we encourage Congress to support the future of payments and make sure competition is protected.”

French’s comments came in a letter to the committee, which began debate this morning on the Financial Choice Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a larger rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Committee approval of the bill could come today or Wednesday, with a vote by the full House expected later this month.

The committee is moving forward today even though only a single hearing has been held on the nearly 600-page bill. No retailers were allowed to testify at last week’s hearing despite the impact of the swipe fee issue on the industry. Nonetheless, dozens of retailers held more than 100 meetings on the issue with lawmakers on Capitol Hill the same day. NRF submitted a statement for the record and is running digital ads and has delivered more than 7,000 email petitions addressing consumer benefits and competition that urge Congress to preserve debit card reform.

Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.

Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from about 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.

Reform also required that merchants be given at least two choices in the networks that route debit transactions to the bank for processing, typically one controlled by Visa or MasterCard and a competing, independent network that offers advantages such as lower fees, better service or better security.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

The National Retail Federation supports legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare

Bills Do Not Include Tax on Employer-Provided Health Benefits

WASHINGTON, 2017-Mar-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (March 7, 2017) said it supports legislation unveiled by House Republicans to repeal and replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“Retailers want reforms that push us toward a more competition-driven private health care market, and the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bills take us in that direction,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.

“We believe this reform can be achieved without disturbing the tax treatment of employer-provided benefits, which are the foundation of coverage for more than 175 million Americans,” French said. “Employees are highly sensitive to any change in benefits and younger, healthier workers could choose to drop their coverage altogether rather than pay more taxes. We are pleased that House leadership heard our concerns and that their bills do not disturb this structure. We will work with Congress to repeal all threats to employer-based coverage, including the so-called Cadillac tax on health benefits.”

Retailers oppose proposals to cap the current exclusion from taxable income of employer-provided health benefits, and NRF has been working to educate lawmakers on the consequences of taxing health benefits. While House Republican leadership proposed capping the exclusion last June, the provision was not included in the legislation released on Monday. NRF nonetheless remains wary that the concept will emerge in other legislation later this year.

NRF supports efforts to repeal ObamaCare’s employer mandate and to provide the individual and small group markets with interim stability.

“Health benefits are highly sought after, even for small start-up businesses, and greater stability will help create a better functioning market,” French said.

Retailers are also pleased with the reform bills’ focus on market-driven changes to benefit offerings. Greater variation in what is offered and freeing up where it can be purchased would help lower costs through greater competition. Enhancements to health savings accounts, greater state flexibility in rating factors and the availability of catastrophic coverage are all important reforms NRF supports.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF launches new media campaign to educate Americans on the high consumer cost of border adjustment tax

WASHINGTON, 2017-Mar-01 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (February 28, 2017) launched a television, print and digital ad campaign to educate Americans on the high consumer cost of the border adjustment tax. The BAT is included in the House Republican leadership’s “Better Way” plan for tax reform. While NRF strongly supports tax reform, the BAT is bad tax policy that would increase costs on everyday necessities like food, gas, clothing and prescription medicines for the average family by as much as $1,700 in the first year alone.

“American consumers are being asked to foot the bill for a new $1 trillion tax giveaway for multinational companies, and this campaign will make sure those paying for it know it,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “We need tax reform that rewards entrepreneurs and allows businesses to grow and create good-paying jobs that lift working families up. The BAT does just the opposite, penalizing Americans by adding a tax on clothing, food, gas and other necessities while threatening the very industry that 42 million hardworking men and women rely upon for their livelihoods.”

The TV spot can be viewed on the campaign landing page, bat.tax, and will air starting today on the Fox News Channel’s morning program, “FOX and Friends,” and during the NBC show “Saturday Night Live” this Saturday, March 4. The television ads will be supported with a digital and print campaign and will encourage consumers to contact their members of Congress to express opposition to the border adjustment tax.

The BAT threatens America’s largest private-sector employer, putting at risk millions more jobs than it would allegedly create for manufacturing. Retailers support one out of four U.S. jobs, or 42 million positions — but a BAT could cause retailers to see tax bills three to five times the amount of their profits, threatening to drive some merchants out of business. The small retailers that make up 98 percent of the retail industry and provide 40 percent of its jobs would be at the biggest risk.

National Retail Federation
TV :60
“AS SEEN ON TV”

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Don’t delay, call Congress today! Staffers are standing by.

Visit our website at bat.tax to learn more. That’s B-A-T-dot-T-A-X.

The BAT Tax – don’t forget, the “T” stands for Tax.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF applauds warning from New York Fed CEO that border adjustment tax would have “unintended consequences” for American consumers

NEW YORK, 2017-Jan-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation applauded a warning from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President and CEO William Dudley today (January 17, 2017) that a border adjustment tax would have “unintended consequences” for American consumers.

“Mr. Dudley and retailers are in agreement: a border adjustment scheme would be a risky experiment for the American economy,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Economic theorists are playing with fire and it’s the consumer who ultimately will lose.”

“We are pleased to hear Mr. Dudley voice his support for corporate tax reform,” French said. “The best way to grow our economy is for Congress to lower tax rates for all businesses, not pick winners and losers.”

In a keynote session at NRF’s Retail’s BIG Show this morning, Dudley was asked about his views on the border adjustability provision in the “Better Way” tax reform plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

“That type of adjustment proposal in the House, it’s a pretty dramatic change,” Dudley said. “I think that it will probably lead to a lot of changes in the value of the dollar, the prices of imported goods in the U.S. I’m not sure that that would all happen very smoothly and I also think there could be lots of unintended consequences.”

“I’m not of the view that import prices would go up 10 percent and the dollar would appreciate by exactly 10 percent so that the value that retailers pay for the imported goods would be exactly the same in dollar terms.”

“I’d like to see corporate tax reform and I’d like to see something that does reduce some of the distortions that occur, but I want to see something I think that is probably a little less dramatic.”

The border adjustment provision of the plan would, in effect, create a border tax on imported goods by ending retailers’ ability to deduct the cost of merchandise that they import. That means retailers would be taxed at nearly the full selling price of imported merchandise rather than just their profit.

That would have significant implications for retailers and other industries that import goods into the United States, including automobiles, technology, food and fuel. Analysis by NRF and many of its member companies indicates that the proposed tax would drive up costs, erode profits and exceed any benefits from a lower corporate tax rate. It would require price increases of up to 15 percent to retain profitability, effectively creating a new tax paid by consumers.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF support former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as the new head of the Department of Transportation

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jan-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation supported confirmation of former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as the new head of the Department of Transportation in a letter sent today (January 11, 2017) to the Senate.

“Mrs. Chao has an incredible history, knowledge and experience within the transportation industry and we think she is perfectly suited to be the next secretary.” David French, SVP for Government Relations.

“The next secretary of transportation must address ongoing issues of infrastructure funding while ensuring that our transportation systems are truly state-of-the-art and able to handle expected increases in freight flows,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French wrote. “Mrs. Chao has an incredible history, knowledge and experience within the transportation industry and we think she is perfectly suited to be the next secretary.”

French said Chao “has the background and experience to address some of the key supply chain issues facing our nation and our global competitiveness,” citing her previous posts as deputy secretary of transportation, deputy administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration and chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission.

French said the Transportation Department is important to retailers because merchants are among the nation’s largest shippers, moving hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise through the nation’s ports, rail lines, and highways each year.

“The condition of this interconnected supply chain and its ability to move freight quickly, efficiently and safely are vital to retailers’ businesses, as well as those of American manufacturers, agricultural producers and the millions of workers they employ,” French said.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee began Chao’s confirmation hearing this morning.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF welcomes judge’s ruling on preventing DOL’s changes to federal overtime rules from taking effect on Dec 1

WASHINGTON, 2016-Nov-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation welcomed a judge’s ruling today that will prevent the Labor Department’s changes to federal overtime rules from taking effect as scheduled on December 1. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by NRF, attorneys general from 21 states and dozens of business groups arguing that the changes are unlawful. The ruling effectively pauses implementation of the rules until the courts reach a final decision on their legality.

“The Labor Department’s overtime changes are a reckless and aggressive overreach of executive power, and retailers are pleased with the judge’s decision,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The rules are just plain bad public policy, and we are pleased that the judge is allowing time for the case to go forward before they can go into effect. We hope the judge ultimately finds in our favor, and in the meantime this timeout gives Congress a chance to take another look at the impact of these rules.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported that canceling the overtime changes would benefit consumers by avoiding price increases that would come if companies had to pay their workers more. Real family income would be $2.1 billion higher without the changes in 2017 alone, and even families that would have had an increase in overtime earnings would have a net gain. While CBO estimated that the new rules would extend overtime eligibility to an additional 3.9 million workers, it found that only about 900,000 of those employees currently work enough hours to actually receive overtime pay, or 0.6 percent of the U.S. workforce. And those workers would make only an extra $650 a year, the CBO found.

Research conducted for NRF by Oxford Economics found that the new overtime regulations would force employers to limit hours or cut base pay in order to make up for added payroll costs, leaving most workers with no increase in take-home pay despite added administrative costs. A separate survey found that the majority of retail managers and assistant managers the regulations are supposed to help oppose the plan, citing losses in schedule flexibility, benefits and professional development opportunities that would come with switching from salaried to hourly positions.

The lawsuit brought by NRF and more than 50 business organizations argues that both the $47,476 annual minimum salary for workers to be exempt from overtime set by the new overtime rules – more than double the current level – and the automatic increase in that amount every three years exceed the Labor Department’s statutory authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are in violation of the intent of Congress.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF filed suit against Labor Department’s changes to the federal overtime rules

WASHINGTON, 2016-Sep-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation filed suit in U.S. District Court today (September 20, 2016) on behalf of the millions of employers and employees who will be drastically affected if the Labor Department’s changes to the federal overtime rules go into effect on December 1.

“The Labor Department’s extreme and reckless changes to the overtime rules will hobble the career paths of millions of Americans trying to climb the professional ladder,” said NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French. “Retailers are already struggling to implement this new government mandate before the swiftly approaching deadline, and the automatic update included in the rule would make them do this same dance every three years for as long as they are able to remain in business. This is a massive government overreach of executive authority, and the courts need to put a stop to it.”

Research conducted for NRF shows that the overtime regulations will force employers to limit hours or cut base pay in order to make up for the added payroll costs, leaving most workers with no increase in take-home pay despite added administrative costs. A separate survey found that the majority of retail managers and assistant managers the regulations are supposed to help oppose the plan.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF David French: New Union Organizing Rules Will Lead To Confusion For America’s Employers

WASHINGTON, 2016-Mar-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement in response to today’s release from the Department of Labor of final rules significantly narrowing the advice exemption for employers under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

“Once again, the Obama administration is bowing to labor unions and eliminating a well-established, clear test in favor of an ambiguous and open-ended standard that will lead to confusion for America’s employers,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “For more than 50 years, the Department of Labor has maintained a clear definition of the advice exemption so that employers could seek and receive legal counsel and protect employer free speech. Now, DOL is rewriting the law without any involvement from Congress and without any proof a change is needed.

“DOL’s new rules would trigger reporting requirements for any communications that could even indirectly persuade workers regarding collective bargaining. NRF is concerned that the new standard will discourage employers from seeking advice of counsel in a broad swath of areas that have nothing to do with traditional persuader activities.

“The end result will be a chilling effect on simple legal advice regarding employee or collective bargaining issues. Small retailers will be the first to suffer, and Big Labor will profit from this muzzling of free speech.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

###

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

National Retail Federation supports customs reauthorization bill

Washington, DC, 2016-Feb-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation sent a letter  to Senate leadership  voicing strong support for a customs reauthorization bill scheduled for action today, saying it may include votes on the measure in its annual voting scorecard.

“As major importers, retailers rely on efficient supply chain operations. This includes ensuring legitimate cargo is able to be quickly processed through our nation’s borders,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French wrote.  “Modernizing CBP operations is essential in the ever-increasing global economy. The elements within TFTEA will provide CBP with the tools needed to ensure companies can continue to compete in the global economy.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF: US DOL’s concept of a joint employer is even worse than what we’ve seen from the NLRB

WASHINGTON, 2016-Jan-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation said joint employer standards issued today by the Labor Department are too broad and that Obama administration attempts to hold more companies responsible for the action of subcontractors or franchisees should be overturned by Congress.

“The Labor Department’s concept of a joint employer is even worse than what we’ve seen from the NLRB,” NRF Senior Vice President David French said. “Lawyers are already saying it’s only going to lead to more litigation. Congress has to stop the spread of this Orwellian big brother approach to government before it can go any further. This type of interference in well-established business practices is just one more roadblock to job creation and economic recovery. Ultimately, it’s American workers and families who will suffer.”

“Washington needs to understand that businesses can’t be held responsible for what they don’t control,” French said. “Subcontractors and franchisees are independent companies who make their own decisions on how to deal with their employees. Trying to treat large companies and smaller businesses as one large entity is just another effort to make life easier for organized labor.”

Guidelines released today by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division would set a broad definition of what can be considered a joint employer, using language from the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act that defines employment as “to suffer or permit to work.” By contrast, National Labor Relations Act provisions cited by the NLRB in its joint employer rulings last year require an element of “directing and controlling.”

DOL would recognize two types of joint employers. Under a “horizontal” model, an employee would work for two or more employers that are only technically separate. Under a “vertical” model, the employee would work for an intermediary such as a staffing agency that in turn is hired by another company.

The current debate over joint employers began last year at the NLRB, but Wage and Hour is the third federal agency to become involved. Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also considering whether to broaden the definition it uses, looking at whether franchisers can be held responsible for franchisees’ safety and health violations.

Under guidelines followed for more than 30 years, the NLRB held that a company had to have direct control over the actions of a subcontractor or franchisee’s employees in order to be considered a joint employer. However, in an August 2015 ruling involving the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries and staffing agency Leadpoint Business Services, the NLRB said a company could be considered a joint employer even if it had only indirect or unexercised control. In a separate case, the NLRB said McDonald’s could be considered a joint employer with its restaurant franchisees.

In October, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved legislation that would amend the NLRA to say a company can only be considered a joint employer if it has “actual, direct and immediate” control over essential terms and conditions of employment.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. NRF.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF welcomes Congress’s final passage of a wide-ranging spending and tax-relief package

WASHINGTON, 2015-12-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today welcomed final passage by Congress of a wide-ranging spending and tax-relief package, citing provisions that would delay onerous portions of Obamacare, make it easier for businesses to share cyber threats, and renew tax law that helps retailers create jobs while laying the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform.

“Congress has finally taken away the threat of a government shutdown that has threatened our nation’s economy the past few months, and given both consumers and businesses some certainty on what to expect in the future,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “In addition to funding the government, this legislation is the first step toward fundamental tax reform that our economy so urgently needs.”

“Retailers are pleased to be getting relief from provisions of the Affordable Care Act that would have driven up the cost of health insurance and made it harder for families to get good coverage,” French said. “Employers should not be penalized for providing generous benefits to their employees, and this delay is a step toward righting that wrong.”

Congress completed work today on an omnibus spending bill and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, or PATH, which would extend more than 50 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2014.

“Making permanent many important tax provisions gives our companies the certainty they need to plan investments, and we believe this will greatly increase investments by our industry” French wrote in a letter to congressional leadership.

The package would make permanent a provision that allows retailers to depreciate remodeling and other improvements to their stores over 15 years rather than the previous standard of 39 years. The provision, which also applies to restaurants, is important because retailers typically remodel every five to seven years. In addition to helping keep stores attractive to customers and profitable, the remodeling work creates tens of thousands of construction jobs each year.

A separate provision that allows 50 percent of the cost of improvements to be written off under “bonus deprecation” would be extended for five years, and would be expanded to cover stores and restaurants that are owned rather than just those that are leased.

Section 179 expensing, which determines the amount of an investment a small business is allowed to write off entirely in the first year rather than being depreciated over multiple years, would be made permanent and its level would be increased.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives retailers a tax incentive to hire the disabled, welfare recipients and other economically challenged individuals, would be renewed for five years.

By sorting out which provisions should be made permanent, which should be extended for a short time and which should be phased out, French said the tax relief measure “will be a stepping stone to more fundamental tax reform that provides U.S. businesses with a more competitive tax rate, increases investment in the United States, increases wages in the United States, and helps the consumer.”

Between the two bills, the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac Tax on high-value health insurance plans and a tax on medical devices would be delayed for two years, along with a one-year delay in a health insurance tax.

Also included is language protecting businesses from liability when they share information about cyber threats with the government.

“Sharing information on cyber threats will create an atmosphere of community vigilance that will ensure that consumer’s sensitive data is kept safe,” French said.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF Senior VP David French: Time for Congress to remove the sales tax advantage for Internet sellers that is harming our communities

WASHINGTON, 2015-12-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today called on Congress to reject a customs reauthorization bill set for a vote this week unless it includes a provision allowing states to require online merchants to collect sales tax the same as local stores.

“As more and more Main Street retailers close their doors because they cannot compete, it is time for Congress to remove the sales tax advantage for Internet sellers that is harming our communities,” NRF Senior Vice President David French said. “We need a level playing field so retailers can compete without the government advantaging one sector of the industry over the other.”

French’s comments came in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and all members of both chambers.

The final House-Senate agreement on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 is scheduled for a vote in the House on Friday. The measure includes a provision that would make permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a federal ban on Internet access taxes that is set to expire on Friday.

While ITFA has nothing to do with customs, the extension is considered “must-pass” legislation because state and local governments would be free to start taxing online access if it is not renewed. Backers of sales tax fairness legislation are opposed to the stand-alone extension of ITFA, however, because they hoped to use ITFA as a vehicle for passage of the Remote Transactions Parity Act, which would effectively overturn a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows sales tax on most online purchases to go uncollected.

“We are extremely concerned about the inclusion of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in the final conference report,” French said. “Retailers have long believed that it is appropriate to eliminate the sales tax discrimination for bricks-and-mortar stores as part of congressional consideration of PITFA.”

Various forms of the sales tax bill have been pending in Congress for more than a dozen years, but French said the need for passage is becoming urgent, citing an NRF survey that found more people shopped online than in stores during Thanksgiving weekend for the first time this year.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Coalition of 10 associations led by NRF sent a letter to Senate in support of an amendment of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — A broad-based coalition of 10 associations led by the National Retail Federation sent a letter today to Senate leadership in support of an amendment by Senator Tom Cotton to S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, that would give liability protection to businesses that share cyber threats with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service rather than just the Department of Homeland Security.

“NRF is leading the fight against data theft because the retailer-consumer relationship depends on trust, and cyberattacks erode that trust,” said Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French. “Hackers target a wide variety of businesses, but data thefts committed against retailers draw attention because retail stores are names consumers know and places where they shop every day. We are committed to stopping this criminal threat to our customers and the industry.”

Noting in its letter that “A major barrier that prevents the business community from working to combat these unprecedented attacks is the risk of costly frivolous lawsuits,” the coalition urged the Senate to pass CISA and “remove this roadblock to cyber defense.”

The coalition also wrote that CISA would be improved by the amendment offered by Cotton. As written, the legislation would provide liability protection only when threats are shared with DHS. Under Cotton’s amendment, the protection would be extended to cover sharing with all three agencies. “This amendment recognizes the reality that for non-critical infrastructure sectors, the FBI and Secret Service are our longstanding partners and primary points of contact in fighting cyberattacks,” wrote the coalition. “Anything that hinders essential real-time communication cedes the field to our nation’s adversaries and weakens our economic security.”

NRF has led a sustained campaign over the past decade to address data security and protect retail customers. In addition to advocating for information-sharing legislation like today’s Senate bill, NRF has supported passage of a uniform federal data breach notification law to replace separate laws in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Notification legislation has been a top priority in Congress during 2015, and NRF testified before a Senate hearing in February that a federal law should cover banks, card processors and all entities that handle sensitive consumer data, not just retailers.

To help fight cybersecurity threats to retailers’ systems, NRF has also created the Information Technology Security Council, which keeps retailers up to date on the latest news, information and threats and has more than 150 actively-involved retail companies.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF to Congress: new chip-and-signature credit cards without PIN will not stop data breaches

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today told Congress that new chip-and-signature credit cards without a PIN will not stop data breaches, and that small businesses should not be pressured to install the equipment to accept them at the expense of more effective technology.

“The new EMV equipment does not stop breaches,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Indeed, in many cases it provides no significant benefits either to the business or to the business’ regular customers. It is merely an additional expense small businesses are being told to bear.”

If small businesses are pushed to adopt Europay MasterCard Visa technology, alternatives such as mobile payment apps and other smartphone-based technology “may effectively be locked out of the market,” French said.

“These are important considerations that businesses of all sizes must carefully ponder,” French said. “It would be inappropriate to prejudge their decision-making and stampede businesses into the adoption of solutions less protective for businesses and consumers than what has existed throughout the industrialized world for more than a generation.”

Cards currently being issued by U.S. banks feature a computer microchip that will eventually replace cards’ easily copied magnetic stripe to store data. But French said the cards also need a secure personal identification number, or PIN, which would eventually replace easily forged signatures, as is done in all other countries that use EMV cards. While the chips make the cards more difficult to counterfeit, they do nothing to protect lost or stolen cards, while a PIN alone could prevent both types of fraud, he said.

While the new cards make it somewhat more difficult for criminals to use stolen card numbers, they do not actually prevent numbers from being stolen in the first place, and stolen numbers can still be used for online and other types of fraud.

French’s comments came in a statement submitted to the House Small Business Committee, which is holding a hearing today on what chip-based cards will mean for small businesses. Today’s hearing is scheduled to feature witnesses from the card industry, but another session with small businesses and retailers is expected to be held later this month. The hearing follows last week’s deadline for merchants to install chip-card readers or face increased fraud liability if a chip card is used in a non-chip reader.

French said credit and debit card fees are the second-largest expense for many small businesses after labor, and that the card industry imposes “a multitude of complex rules on small businesses.” Chip-card readers and installation can vary from “a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars” per terminal, he said, with an industry average of $2,000.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. NRF.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

The National Retail Federation issues statement on completion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on completion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations:

“Trade agreements are vital for American retailers large and small. They help merchants provide high-quality, low-cost goods to U.S. consumers, and provide new overseas market opportunities for American companies and workers. It’s taken hard work on the part of U.S. negotiators to conclude this agreement, and we congratulate United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and his team for achieving an agreement.”

“International trade supports millions of jobs in the retail industry, and that number will only grow with passage of TPP. NRF looks forward to reviewing the final agreement with our members to identify the benefits for retailers and their customers.”

NRF’s recent Trade Matters to American Retailers and Families report found that international trade supports 6.9 million U.S. jobs in the retail and restaurant industries alone. Passage of the TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – the other major trade agreement currently being negotiated – could help eliminate nearly $6 billion in tariffs that drive up prices of many imported consumer goods.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. NRF.com

press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

NRF called on Congress to pass legislation to reverse NLRB ruling on joint employer definition

WASHINGTON, 2015-9-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today called on Congress to pass legislation introduced this week that would reverse a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that significantly broadens the definition of a joint employer, saying the move would unfairly make companies that work with franchise locations or subcontractors responsible for actions they do not control.

“The board’s decision has significant negative implications for essentially any and every type of business-to-business relationship and will undermine job creation and small business growth across America,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “These harmful and unnecessary changes are out of sync with reality and are certain to create immense instability in business relationships.”

French’s comments came in a letter to House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Kline and Alexander this week introduced the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. Under guidelines followed for more than 30 years, the NLRB held that a company had to have direct control over the actions of a franchisee or subcontractor’s employees in order to be considered a joint employer. Under its August ruling in a case involving the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries, the board said a company could be considered a joint employer even if it had only indirect or potential control.

The Kline-Alexander bill would require that the earlier standard of direct control be used.

“This long-held standard has enabled small businesses to flourish,” French said. “It has also ensured that larger companies … are protected from unnecessary involvement in labor negotiations or disputes in workplaces they do not control.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

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NRF analysis shows how overtime expansion would impact nearly 1.7 million retail and restaurant workers

WASHINGTON, 2015-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Obama Administration has portrayed its proposal to expand the number of people covered by federal overtime rules as a means to bring extra pay to low-wage workers. But a new analysis conducted for the National Retail Federation shows that a far broader range of higher-ranking management and professional workers could be covered in some states, particularly in rural areas where income and the cost of living are lower than the national average.

Under the proposal, most individuals making up to $970 a week anywhere in the country would automatically receive overtime pay at time-and-a-half when working more than 40 hours a week, up from the current $455. The Labor Department chose $970 under a formula intended to give overtime to the lowest-paid 40 percent of full-time workers nationwide who currently receive a fixed salary.

But in 10 states – Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas – that dollar figure would bring at least 45 percent of full-time salaried workers under overtime rules. Another eight states – Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia – would see at least 50 percent covered. The figure works out to the intended 40 percent in only one state, Maine. (See report for state-by-state numbers.)

The salary threshold would also be indexed, raising it to $1,400 by 2017 under one option proposed by the Labor Department. Within three years, only 22 percent of current salaried workers would remain exempt from overtime.

“This proposal has been spun as a way to raise the income of struggling workers but there are places where bankers or stockbrokers could be turned into hourly workers,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The Labor Department has ignored the fact that the cost-of-living varies throughout the country.”

10 Ways DOL’s Flawed Overtime Proposal Hurts Employees from National Retail Federation

“In smaller towns and cities, $50,000 a year is a very comfortable income and individuals making that much might well be in prominent positions in their communities,” French said. “It isn’t an hourly wage – it’s a salaried, professional position that comes with health care, retirement plans, bonuses and other benefits that could be lost if reduced to an hourly ‘job.’ A one-size-fits-all approach means the benefits of overtime could go to people who don’t need the help while driving up payroll costs that could be better spent on job creation for those who need to get a foot in the door.”

In examples cited by the report, it takes only about $785 in Louisiana, Mississippi or Oklahoma to have the same buying power as $970 a week nationally. In Arkansas and North Carolina, $800 buys as much as the national average.

Under federal law, managers and highly trained professionals can be declared exempt from overtime if they meet certain job duties tests, but in most cases the exemption applies only if they make above the salary threshold.

“The majority of retail managers don’t want this proposal to become law,” French said. “They like the stability and flexibility of a weekly salary, and they don’t want to be told to go home after 40 hours when they’re willing to do the work needed to make their stores a success. The key to success is building a career, not punching a time clock.”

The new analysis was conducted by research firm Oxford Economics as an addition to an earlier study for NRF that found fully implementing the overtime proposal could cost retailers and restaurants alone $8.4 billion a year in added wages. But the report said many employers would offset most of the cost by reducing hours or benefits or using more part-time workers. Nonetheless, employers would see an estimated $745 million in added administrative costs even if workers saw no increase in take-home pay.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF’s David French on Department of Labor’s decision not to extend overtime deadline

WASHINGTON, 2015-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on the Labor Department’s decision to move forward with the Obama administration’s proposal to expand overtime, denying requests from business groups for an extension to the comment period:

“Today’s announcement by the Department of Labor that it will not extend the comment period for a flawed proposal that has such broad, negative implications for retail businesses large and small across America is astounding. However, no one should be surprised when you consider this administration’s continued assault on business in deference to their friends in organized labor.

“Make no mistake, this is not good policy for job growth and building a middle class. This is purely driven by a political agenda that will ultimately cost jobs, slow the economy and shutter Main Street businesses that cannot afford mandate after mandate written behind closed doors and handed down by a federal bureaucracy that doesn’t understand how to run a successful enterprise, earn a dollar rather than tax one or even balance a budget.

“In its rush to provide feel-good talking points for Labor Day as opposed to writing constructive policy through a process of inclusion, the DOL continues to deconstruct the only engine for growth in a struggling economy.”

NRF said in July that the overtime proposal was too complex for businesses to respond by the DOL’s deadline, set for Friday, and asked for an extension until November.

A study conducted for NRF by research firm Oxford Economics found that the proposal, which would grant overtime eligibility to workers making up to $970 a week rather than the current $455 a week, would cost the restaurant and retail industries alone $8.4 billion a year in added wages if fully implemented. But the study said many employers would offset most of the cost by reducing hours or benefits or using more part-time workers. Nonetheless, employers would see an estimated $745 million in administrative costs even if workers saw no increase in take-home pay.

A separate survey conducted for NRF by the firm GfK found the majority or retail managers oppose the changes, saying that becoming hourly workers would undermine their ability to lead by example.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

The National Retail Federation comments on votes in the House jeopardizing final congressional approval of Trade Promotion Authority legislation

7 million restaurant and retail jobs in the U.S supported by trade

WASHINGTON, 2015-6-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on today’s votes in the House, jeopardizing final congressional approval of Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which provides a legislative framework for consideration of international trade agreements:

“The vote in the House of Representatives that puts final congressional passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in jeopardy is a victory for those with a narrow agenda that puts petty politics ahead of people, while jeopardizing the futures of millions of men and women in America, both those with jobs striving to grow the middle class and those seeking jobs that can only come with a robust economy.

“It is nothing short of astounding that in the 21st-century anyone would think it is in our country’s best interest to sit back and let foreign governments dictate our role in a global marketplace.

“We are not just disappointed that isolationist fear mongering and political threats carried the day, we are genuinely concerned for the seven million restaurant and retail jobs that are supported by trade as well as the continued viability of the businesses that employ them. As this debate moves forward, make no mistake, the world is watching.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

The National Retail Federation comments on National Labor Relations Board “ambush” election rules

New NLRB Rules Take Effect Today

WASHINGTON, 2015-4-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement fromSenior Vice President for Government Relations David French on National Labor Relations Board “ambush” election rules that take effect today:

“This is an overt attempt by the administration to tilt the union election playing field. It is a gift to the White House’s allies in Big Labor and their union organizing efforts.

“These rules are similar to the ‘hurry-up offense’ where one side hopes to catch the other off-guard with misdirection and a hurried pace. In this case, employers will be put on constant defense and always placed at a disadvantage.

“This change will significantly restrict both employees’ and employers’ participation in the union organizing process and severely compress the union election cycle. It muzzles the rights and voices of employees who want to understand the benefits and consequences of union organizing as well as employers who want to rebut and respond to union-backed charges.

“NRF will continue to challenge the NLRB in Congress and in the courts.”

NRF in January joined the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, National Association of Manufacturers, Society for Human Resource Management and U.S. Chamber of Commerce in filing a lawsuit challenging the regulations. NRF is also involved in a related case that is under appellate review.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

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NRF presented Congress with achievable solutions to better protect consumers and help businesses prevent cyberattacks and data breaches

NRF Testifies on Congressional and Industry Efforts

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today presented Congress with practical, commonsense and achievable solutions to better protect consumers and help businesses prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

“We should not be satisfied with simply determining what to do after a data breach occurs,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David Frenchsaid. “Instead, it is important to look at why such breaches occur and what the perpetrators get out of them so that we can find ways to reduce and prevent not only the breaches themselves but the follow-on harm.”

French outlined six proposed solutions during his testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Technology including:

  • Expanding consumer liability protection for using debit cards;
  • Issuance of PIN-and-Chip cards that incorporate both computer microchips and use of a personal identification number (PIN) to authenticate a transaction;
  • Adoption of end-to-end data encryption throughout the payments system;
  • Developing open source, competitive tokenization standards to replace sensitive data with unique and unusable tokens;
  • Passage of a uniform nationwide breach notification law applying to all entities that handle sensitive customer information, and
  • Bolstering federal law enforcement investigation and prosecution of cybercriminals.

What retailers want you to know about data security from NRF on SlideShare

NRF’s recommendations were first proposed in an open letter to President Obama published in advance of the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection last month.

“These are proposals that we believe policy makers can work together to achieve in the near term, either through consumer and industry-supported legislation or by working with the private sector on improving security practices outside of the lawmaking process,” French said.

In his testimony, French also reiterated NRF’s opposition to legislative efforts to impose on retailers, merchants and other nonbank businesses and individuals, the same Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) data security regulations designed for banks.

“Without the cooperation of our partners in the financial system, we cannot alone affect the changes necessary to better defend and protect against cyberattacks that lead to payment card fraud,” French said. “We need to work together to do what we can to improve an aging and outdated payment system that is the principal target of cyberattacks affecting U.S. retail businesses and their customers.”

NRF has been leading the retail industry’s efforts on cyber, data and payment security and has been working closely with its members, government officials, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to shore-up the retail industry’s defenses against cybercriminals.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF called on the Senate to reject legislation that would impose data security rules designed for the banking industry on nonbank businesses

NRF Sends New White Paper to Senate Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today called on the Senate to reject legislation that would impose data security rules designed for the banking industry on retailers and other nonbank businesses, citing a new white paper by two former Federal Trade Commission officials who said doing so would be a “poor fit.”

“Broad expansion of data security standards similar to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act guidelines to virtually every unregulated business in the U.S. economy would be a serious error,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in a letter to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “We support a standard, but it must be a general standard appropriate for the broad array of businesses it would cover.”

NRF commissioned the white paper in response to a number of proposals before Congress to expand the ability, authority and responsibility of the FTC to oversee data security for nonbank businesses, ranging from dry cleaners to taxi drivers. The authors, former FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection officials Joel Winston and Anne Fortney, laid out three main arguments against extending GLBA guidelines to non-financial businesses:

  • The FTC’s role as a law enforcement agency rather than an oversight regulator
  • Overly burdensome obligations on nonbank businesses that have little or no authority to implement changes to payment cards
  • The FTC’s own objections to expanding GLBA requirements to retailers

“When it issued consumer information privacy and safeguards rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the FTC considered applying the rules to retailers that accept bank credit or debit cards and declined to do so,” Winston and Fortney wrote. “We believe that determination remains equally justified today.”

While banks work extremely closely with federal regulators on data security, the FTC only obtains compliance from businesses after initiating a law enforcement investigation and review of an event after it happens, the paper noted.“

Safeguards designed for closely supervised banks that issue credit and debit cards are a poor fit for the vast array of entities that accept credit cards and debit cards as payment,” the white paper said. “The FTC lacks supervisory examination authority and lacks the resources to provide the specific guidance and ongoing oversight that would be necessary to effectuate guidelines-type rules covering the huge diversity of nonbank entities.”

Additionally, unlike banks and credit card companies that require merchants to maintain certain data security obligations, retailers lack any authority over the payment cards, the paper said. For example, while many merchants would like to see new credit cards being issued incorporate both a computer microchip and a personal identification number (PIN) to reduce fraud, banks and card issuers plan to issue chip-only cards, and merchants have no power to mandate the extra security that would be provided by a PIN.

Furthermore, many GLBA requirements “simply are not relevant” to nonbank businesses or would impose “unreasonable obligations,” the paper said. “It is unclear what additional benefit to the public would gain by subjecting nonbanks to specific requirements of the guidelines.”

Although NRF opposes expansion of GLBA requirements to nonbanks, it has testified in support of a uniform national data breach law that would apply a reasonableness standard modeled after state law under Section 5 of the FTC Act that would cover all entities.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

The National Retail Federation supports the legislation aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, 2015-2-3 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation expressed its strong support for legislation aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act in a letter today sent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. NRF will consider votes on H.R. 596 and all related amendments and motions in its annual voting scorecard. The House is expected to take up the legislation later today.

“Dealing with the ACA’s employer mandate and reporting requirements have already brought unwanted cost and complexity to retail employers, despite the serial delays,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Moreover, the numerous unintended consequences of the law have slowed the creation of new retail jobs and limited the hours available to part-time employees.”

NRF opposed the enactment of the health care law on the grounds that it focused more on government mandates and regulations rather than affordability and accessibility. Even though it opposed the law, NRF has worked to address the most egregious aspects of the law in an effort to reduce its negative impact on employers and employees. In particular, NRF has sought the repeal of the employer mandate provision and its reporting requirements, and has supported bipartisan efforts aimed at restoring the traditional 40-hour workweek.

“NRF has and will continue to work in good faith with congress and the administration to fix and improve the law wherever possible,” French said. “Yet even the most basic of changes – such as changing the definition of a full-time employee – still draw unfounded partisan opposition and veto threats. Improving and fixing the ACA remains challenging at best, and finding real relief from the law’s burdens is elusive. We believe the best course of action would be to repeal the ACA in its entirety and begin a truly bipartisan discussion and debate on the future of our health care system.”

Decisions made every day in Washington have a profound impact on retailers’ ability to do business and serve their customers. But it’s bigger than just retail. These issues are vital to the overall economic competitiveness and growth of the United States, making congressional attention even more critical. Retailers will be measuring congressional support for key issues through NRF’s Retail Opportunity Index – keeping tabs on policies that contribute to a vibrant, healthy retail industry and U.S. economy.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

The National Retail Federation reiterated support for federal data breach notification standard as congressional panel held a hearing on this issue

Law Should Cover All Entities that Maintain Personal Information

WASHINGTON, 2015-1-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation reiterated its long-standing support for a federal data breach notification standard today as a congressional panel held a hearing on this issue, saying legislation should provide consumers with clear, concise and consistent notice whenever and wherever a data breach occurs.

“A single uniform national standard for notification of consumers affected by a breach of sensitive data would provide simplicity, clarity and certainty to both businesses and consumers alike,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David Frenchsaid. “A federal breach notification law would ensure reasonable and timely notice to consumers while providing clear compliance standards for businesses.”

French’s comments came in a letter to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which is holding a hearing today on what should go into a notification bill.

For the past decade, NRF has called on Congress to pass a federal data breach notification law that would cover all entities that receive, handle and maintain sensitive personal information. NRF believes a national standard would provide retailers a practical framework to handle consumer notification and must preempt the 47 disparate state data breach notification laws retailers now comply with.

“If Americans are to be adequately protected and informed, any legislation to address these threats must cover all of the types of entities that handle sensitive personal information,” French said. “A federal notice obligation applying to all breached businesses would also create significant incentives across industries to invest in technologies to better protect data and to respond appropriately to breaches whenever and wherever they occur.”

“Regrettably, there are those who are spending time and resources casting blame on the victims of cybercrime, but retailers are actively engaged every day in efforts to protect their customers against those who commit the crimes,” French said commenting on the hearing. “Whether pushing for Chip and PIN credit cards or voluntarily and proactively initiating information-sharing platforms, retailers are less interested in finger pointing and far more interested in collaborating with multi-industry stakeholders and law enforcement to stop these crimes from happening in the first place.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

 

NRF joined with other organizations in filing amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in the Nestle Dreyer case

NRF Joins Other Business Organizations in Support of Nestle Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc.

WASHINGTON, 2015-1-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation joined with other business organizations today in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in the Nestle Dreyer case. The case before the court challenges the National Labor Relations Board’s use of the Specialty Healthcare rule to determine what properly constitutes an appropriate bargaining unit.

“The National Labor Relations Board continues to operate in its own world in an all-out effort to assist its allies in Big Labor,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Through its manufactured manipulation of long-standing labor law to advance the cause of ‘micro-unions’, the NLRB is endangering the employer-employee relationship and fracturing Americans’ workplace.”

The brief was filed along with the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, International Foodservice Distributors Association, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors,National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Federation of Independent Business, Society for Human Resource Management and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It contends that the court should invalidate the NLRB’s judgment against Nestle Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc. because it fails to consider workplace realities and extends preferential treatment to a specific group of employees.

“The NLRB is allowing unions to fashion unreasonably small and specific bargaining units in an effort to ensure successful attempts to unionize workers,” French said. “These ‘micro-unions’ of specific employees within a given business are wholly impractical in the modern American economy and only give rise to segmented divisions of employees, disjointed benefits and income and reduced customer service.”

The issue at hand is the NLRB conclusion that the ice cream manufacturer violated national labor law due to its failure to recognize and negotiate with organized maintenance employees. The company contends that a bargaining unit must be compromised of both its manufacturing and production employees from its manufacturing plant. NLRB applied theSpecialty Healthcare rule in its determination.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press