Newsletter November 10, 2022








Time is running out to register for the WR annual meeting!

Register now to attend the WR annual meeting which will be presented virtually on November 15 from 11am-12pm PST. Hear from the WR Executive leadership team as they discuss trends, top priority issues and resources available to WR members. 


Get a real-time update on Washington’s economy from special guest economist, Dr. Bill Conerly and hear what retailers need to know to prepare and adapt their businesses as they face the economic uncertainties ahead.


The event is free to members, potential members, stakeholders, and retail partners. 


A salute to our veterans

Veterans have always been a powerful resource for the retail industry. Their "can-do" attitude cultivated throughout a military career, makes them tenacious problem-solvers and vigilant customer advocates.

Veterans bring in-demand skills and a strong work ethic to the job, and the retail industry offers veterans broad opportunity to gain experience, prosper, and lead in the nation's most dynamic and innovative industry.

Our military veterans embody the skills and characteristics often found in the best employees and understand the value of leadership and maintaining a solid chain of command. Many, have held leadership positions, managing hundreds or even thousands of personnel. Veterans are keenly aware of the importance of trusting one's team and that the unit is stronger than the sum of its parts.

In a 27-page report, Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families reveals findings on the importance of hiring military veterans in retail. The report includes case studies on the military recruitment and retention programs at Walmart, Disney, and Starbucks and recommendations for retailers on how to recruit, hire and retain veterans in their organizations.

2022 preliminary election results

Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs

The 2022 Election has drawn to a close. Now the counting of ballots commences. Keep in mind that this is an initial count as of Tuesday night. Thousands of ballots are yet to be counted, and results could change.


Let’s look at the first count results from the top of the ticket on down.


In the U.S. Senate, we have Democrat incumbent Patty Murray easily beating Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley by a margin of 56% to 42%. In the U.S. House races, the hotly contested 8th District has Democrat incumbent Kim Schrier leading Republican challenger Matt Larkin 52.7% to 46.99%. Interestingly, in the 3rd District, two political newcomers are slugging it out, with Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez leading Republican Joe Kent 52.62% to 46.8%. This would be a pick-up for the Democrats if the numbers hold. Republican Jamie Herrera-Beutler previously occupied the seat.


In the only statewide official race, Secretary of State appointed incumbent Steve Hobbs, Democrat, led challenger Julie Anderson, Independent, 49.97% to 46.92% - with write-ins making up the difference.


The House Democrats are three seats to the positive for the state Legislature, and the Senate looks to stay at its current balance. 


In the 10th District, incumbent Republican Greg Gilday is losing to challenger Clyde Shavers 47.2% to 52.68%. In the 18th open seat, Republican Stephanie McClintock is narrowly trailing Democrat John Zingle by 549 votes. This would be a pick-up for the Ds. In the 26th District open seat Democrat, Adison Richards has 51.1% over Republican Spencer Hutchins’ 48.8%. This would be another pick-up for the Ds as the seat was previously occupied by Republican State Rep. Jesse Young, who is attempting to join the Senate. In the 35th, the Republicans appear poised to pick up the open Senate seat being vacated by long-time conservative Democrat Senator Tim Sheldon, with the candidacy of Republican Rep. Drew MacEwen leading by 54.5%. Senate Republicans stand to lose a seat in the 42nd if appointed incumbent Simon Sefzik loses to Democrat House seatmate Sharon Shewmake who is leading 51.3% to 48.6% - or 1,252 votes. 


Again, these are the preliminary results – many more ballots will be counted day by day. WR will give a full review once the dust settles and the election is certified. WR’s team looks forward to working collaboratively with the new and returning legislators on preserving and improving the retail industry in Washington State. Thank you to all candidates for running for office.

AG asks Washington Supreme Court to allow capital gains collection

Although Washington state's capital gains tax has been ruled unconstitutional by the Douglas County Superior Court, the state attorney general is petitioning the Washington Supreme Court to allow its collection anyway, pending appeal.

The Washington State Supreme Court will hold an en banc admin conference on Nov 29 to consider the Attorney General's stay motion to allow DOR to collect the capital gains income tax will take effect April 1, 2023.

The Washington Retail Association board of directors has voted unanimously to support the efforts to repeal this unconstitutional law.

Read the entire article on The Center Square

WR urges Congress to intervene in rail labor dispute

WR joined over 350 organizations in signing onto a Coalition Rail Labor Letter to Congress circulated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urging them to take immediate steps upon reconvening to prevent a national rail strike and the certain economic destruction that would follow.

This past weekend, the International Association of Machinists ratified the tentative rail agreement—the seventh union to do so. Two others have rejected the deal, including the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Union (BMWED), which rejected the tentative agreement a couple of weeks ago. They announced yesterday that they are extending their “status quo” cooling off period from November 19 to December 4 to synch with the BRS Union’s status quo. BMWED further announced that if the BLET and SMART-TD reject the contract, the status quo would be further extended to December 8 to match those unions. 

The rail strike threat is now pushed back to December 5 or 9, pending the BLET and SMART-TD ratification votes. Discussions are ongoing with BMWED, but Congress must step in to prevent a rail strike if they do not extend.

Congress has intervened 18 times since 1926 in labor negotiations that threaten interstate commerce, and WR urges them not to deviate from this record today. A voluntary agreement between the major freight railroads and the 12 unions would be the best outcome. However, the risks to our nation’s economy and communities make a national rail strike unacceptable.

Judge orders $24.8 million restitution for deceiving small business owners

A King County Superior Court judge has ordered two companies and their owners to pay more than $24.8 million for their unlawful conduct targeting small business owners. The judge determined that both companies’ “entire business model was based upon deceiving small business owners.”

The companies, CA Certificate Service and Labor Poster Compliance, sent hundreds of thousands of letters to Washington business owners that deceptively appeared to originate from the government. The letters demanded payments for posters or certificates that they deceptively implied were required to purchase. The certificate is not mandatory and available from the state for a fraction of the cost that CA Certificate Service demanded. The posters are available from state and federal agencies for free. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed lawsuits in March against Florida-based CA Certificate Service and Labor Poster Compliance and their owners.

In total, the companies sent 232,091 deceptive letters into Washington. More than 15,000 Washington businesses paid approximately $85 to these two companies for a total of $1.27 million. King County Superior Court Judge David Whedbee granted Ferguson’s request that the companies repay Washington businesses in full, plus pre-judgment interest. The amount of pre-judgment interest will be determined at a later hearing.

The court ruled that the two companies committed 232,091 separate violations of the Consumer Protection Act. The court ordered the two companies to pay $23,518,200 in penalties.

Read more

DECA students learn about diverse pathways and upward mobility in retail 

A new partnership with Washington DECA, a student leadership organization focused on careers in entrepreneurship and business is the most recent outcome of the association’s JEDI initiatives. Rose Gundersen, VP of Operations & Retail Services, presented on the topic “Discover how retail careers advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)” at the 2022 Leadership Conference attended by over 1,750 high schoolers in Bellevue.

In addition to demonstrating how retail jobs have diverse pathways fitting for people of all passions, Gundersen shared the latest research that significantly favors retail careers. According to a Burning Glass Institute’s 5-year assessment of 250 companies published in a recent Wall Street Journal Article, retail ranked well for being among the best workplaces to advance within. Nine out of the top 10 companies in this category included retail or had a significant retail presence.

Gundersen encouraged retail career exploration through RISE Up’s four certification programs developed by retailers. Students can potentially earn school credits by converting their part-time jobs into worksite learning. One student thanked Gundersen when he learned he could earn credits through his part-time job at Old Navy with the help of his school’s careers and technical education director. 

Rick Means, WR’s Director of Safety and Education and former DECA student, helped relay the message to attendees that a career in retail has more to offer than what might be visible to shoppers. Part of that message included the Pick your Passion road map, which shows numerous pathways careers in retail offers. The road map graphic is part of the National Retail Federation Foundation’s RISE Up program. Students were surprised to learn that retail encompasses far more than they had realized.

For students to get entered into a prize drawing, they had to have someone from each of the supporting organization’s booths sign off on a “passport entry card.” Means asked the students retail-related questions to challenge them to learn more about retail and potential career opportunities.

Investing in retail workers advances DEI because people of color make up 38% of frontline retail workers, and corporate retail recruiters prefer people with frontline retail experience. 

Make the most of Small Business Saturday

In 2010, at the height of the Great Recession, American Express launched the Small Business Saturday holiday to redirect holiday shopping to local stores. A little over a decade later, it’s observed in all 50 states. According to American Express, U.S. shoppers spent over $20 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2021, and in the years before that, consumers spent cumulatively over $100 billion on this shopping holiday.

Currently, 33.2 million small businesses operate in the U.S., and over the past 25 years, they have been responsible for adding two out of every three jobs to the economy.

Small Business Saturday falls on November 26 this year. Here are a few ways retailers can position themselves for a successful holiday:

  • Get free marketing materials and exposure from American Express
  • American Express offers free marketing materials, including posters, emails, and social media posts. Small businesses can add themselves to AmEx’s “Shop Small” map and join a national directory of other participating businesses.

  • Launch social media and email marketing campaigns
  • Businesses can use hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall and tag American Express’s @shopsmall social media accounts to get noticed online.

  • Update and optimize your small business website
  • Every business, especially those with e-commerce operations, should ensure their websites are up-to-date and mobile-friendly before Small Business Saturday. Reaching consumers online has been key to business success in 2022 and will continue to be throughout this holiday season and beyond.

Read more.

Healthy holiday sales forecasted as consumers navigate economic uncertainty

Holiday spending is expected to be healthy even with recent inflationary challenges, ending the year with retail sales between 6% and 8% over 2021 and totaling between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5% over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, shattering previous records. Holiday retail sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past ten years, with pandemic spending in recent years accounting for considerable gains.

As households face financial challenges, many will supplement spending with savings and credit to provide a cushion and to help make way for a more festive holiday season.

The holiday shopping season started earlier this year, a growing trend in recent years due to shoppers’ concern regarding inflation and availability of products and the need to even out their budgets and avoid the stresses of holiday shopping.

Read more

Attorney General Ferguson scheduled to host 2nd Organized Retail Crime Task Force meeting

Join us on Wednesday, November 30 between 9:00am and 12:00pm for the 2nd Organized Retail Crime Task Force meeting this year. The meeting will be a hybrid meeting and in-person attendance at the AG’s Seattle office is limited due to limited space. RSVPs for in-person attendance will be accepted in the order in which received. To attend, RSVP by Friday, November 18. A formal agenda will be sent out prior to the meeting.

All in-person attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination and booster, and complete a wellness screening.

Masks are optional and will be available on-site. Individuals who cannot verify their vaccination and booster status will not be admitted to the in-person meeting but may participate via Zoom. In-person attendees can complete the verification and screening process in advance using the CLEAR app. The Health Pass Org Code is WAAGOVISITOR. Detailed instructions will be attached in the invitation email. On-site verification will also be available.

Ensuring a safe holiday shopping season for shoppers and staff

It’s the second week of November and well into the holiday shopping season. Wet weather and crowds can add to the chaotic process and create a perfect storm for injuries, making preparation and planning crucial to ensuring shoppers and employees stay safe.

Focus on using an encouraging tone when communicating with employees about paying increased attention to safety during the busy shopping season.

Safety tips for shoppers during the holidays:

  • Parking lots are more crowded than usual – use extra caution when parking or leaving the parking lot.
  • Be patient, don’t push, shove or run, especially in crowded areas.
  • Take time to wipe wet shoes off on the mats at the entrances of stores.
  • Follow posted masking guidelines if directed by the business.

Safety tips for retailers to reduce the likelihood of incidents:

  • Keep floors clean and dry.
  • Ensure stockrooms are organized, and hazards are promptly cleaned up when bringing additional merchandise to the sales floor.
  • Keep entrance mats dry and replace them as needed.
  • Be attentive to housekeeping and keep aisles clear.
  • Check public restrooms and ensure entrances and exits remain unobstructed.
  • Keep the parking lot and storefront well-lit, and replace dead bulbs as soon as feasible.
  • Now that standard time is back, check timers on lighting and signage, so they turn on at the correct time.

As we all remain vigilant on safety, we can enjoy a safer and happier holiday shopping season!

Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members with safety. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or

WR diversity statement

WR is committed to the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We strive to create a safe, welcoming environment in which these principles can thrive.

We value all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, identity, sexual orientation, nationality, or disability, and that is the foundation of our commitment to those we serve.

Washington Retail Staff

Renée Sunde




Rose Gundersen

VP of Operations

& Retail Services



Mark Johnson

Senior VP of Policy & Government Affairs



Robert B. Haase

Director of




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