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The Toy Association Urges Families to Follow Important Tips for Safe Play National Survey Reveals 96% of Parents Don’t Follow Toy’s Age Label & Other Concerning Findings

NEW YORK, NY | November 12, 2019 – With the holiday shopping season here, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the frenzy of buying gifts and overlook safety. But The Toy Association is urging parents, grandparents, and other gift givers to ensure their kids stay safe by following important safety tips – not just leading up to the holidays, but all year long.  

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Tobacco 21 Bills Gain Local, State and Federal Traction

 

History tells us that people have smoked tobacco for thousands of years. More than three generations ago, the public began to speculate about the health of smoking, and some fifty years ago, the Surgeon General ruled that health warnings were required on each pack of smokes. The next few decades saw the significant rise of tobacco taxes, the introduction of the minimum purchase age and the passage and implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. 

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2019 Halloween By the Numbers (NRF)

The National Retail Federation (NRF) does a yearly survey to measure consumers’ Halloween shopping behavior. They suggest that over 172 million Americans participate in the holiday and contribute to a $8.8 billion dollar industry. This unique holiday inspires some neat and quick statistics that we will explore again this year.                                     

Halloween by Numbers 2019

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Food Waste Reduction Alliance

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) has revealed a formal agreement  with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce food loss and waste through industry and agency-specific actions.

FWRA was founded in 2011 by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association to reduce the amount of food waste generated; increase the amount of safe, nutritious food donated to those in need; and divert unavoidable food waste from landfills. According to FWRA, it's estimated that 25% to 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the United States will never be consumed.

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Popular Apples Recalled in Texas

Apples distributed to wholesalers and retailers in Texas have been recalled this season. The apples, which are from Michigan, are possibly contaminated with Listeria.

The recalled apples include McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Fuji, Jonamac and Red Delicious apples.

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New beer, wine and tobacco laws

This past legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed several laws which impact Texas retailers who sell beer and wine, as well as tobacco. These new laws went into effect Sunday, September 1st. Although we understand the Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission (TABC), as well as the Texas Comptroller’s office have communicated with our state’s retailers about these new laws and their impacts or changes, we wanted to make sure all TRA members had the most updated information. 

Below for your reference are an industry notice from TABC, which includes a detailed document reflecting all of the changes impacting TABC enacted last session, as well as this link from the Comptroller’s office regarding the new Over 21 Tobacco law. The link contains helpful information along the right hand side. However, we understand that there is still ambiguity regarding what constitutes acceptable ID’s for the military exemptions for tobacco purchases. TRA is in contact with the Comptroller’s office on this issue and we have asked them to issue clarifying guidance to retailers ASAP. Here is a link to more information about including the "Texas Retailer Tobacco Packet." We will continue to monitor this and report back as we learn more details.

TRA Membership Campaign: Win A Gift Card

TRA is engaging in a membership campaign to grow the ranks of TRA’s membership to include more sectors of the industry and have more geographic areas of the state represented within the association…AND, we are asking YOU, our members to help us. You can help by referring, identifying and/or connecting potential member companies and stores to TRA. Please look over your networks of industry contacts to see if any who are retailers in Texas would be great new TRA members. If so, let us know about them, or send them our way and we’ll take it from there.

TRA has a great story to tell and delivers solid member value, and we can think of no better way than to enlist our members in sharing what TRA is all about with potential new members. As an incentive to help your industry association grow, we are including a reward component to this fall’s membership campaign. Any current TRA member who refers a company or store which joins TRA between now and January 1st, 2020 will receive a gift card as a referral reward. See details in this newsletter. We are also revamping the TRA website to make it more user friendly for all who visit it, as well as making it more useful for TRA’s staff and members. We look forward to officially announcing the new TRA website in early November.

Implementation for new state laws underway

On the advocacy front, TRA remains engaged in the rulemaking and implementation processes for new state laws impacting retailers that were passed during the state legislative session, earlier this year. Additionally, we continue to fight for retailers against the ill-conceived local Paid Sick Leave ordinances which have popped up in several Texas cities. On the federal level we are continuing our push to have Congress ratify the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before the end of the year, as well as to find opportunities to make the much-needed technical corrections to the 2017 Tax Reform law. For more timely advocacy updates, make plans to join TRA’s monthly Tax & Legislative Committee calls, which typically occur the second Thursday of each month at 2pm CT. These calls are a great way to keep up with all of the advocacy efforts TRA engages in on your behalf. Reach out to any member of the TRA team to be added to the distribution list for the Tax & Lege call announcements.

That said, it is now more important than ever to engage your elected officials (state and federal) with store tours and other opportunities to discuss the state and federal issues that matter most to you and your business. Making it local helps them see much more clearly the impact of their actions, or inactions. As we approach a very important election year in 2020, it’s important for all of us to work to educate them on the issues which matter most to retailers, as well as to know where they stand on our industry’s key issues. One way you and your company can help support and elect retail friendly legislators is by contributing to the Texas Retailers Association Political Action Committee (TRAPAC). You can get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts, as well as information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC, by visiting the TRA website here.

US and Mexico Sign Tomato Suspension Agreement

On 9/19, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexican tomato growers signed a new suspension agreement to prevent the dumping of tomatoes into the U.S. market. The two countries have been in a major tiff over the dumping of tomatoes, which caused the Commerce Department to pull out of the previous long-standing tomato suspension agreement. To reach last week’s agreement, the U.S. agreed to suspend the current Administration’s anti-dumping investigation on Mexican tomatoes. The new agreement terminates a 17.56 percent tariff placed on importers of Mexican tomatoes. 

Source: National Grocer's Association

IRI Survey: Younger Millennials Outspending Older Cohorts in Food/Bev

Consumer confidence has been up and down in 2019. Despite a strong start to the year, confidence dimmed at the end of Q1 2019. It currently is surging again due to a strong labor market, but trade issues could easily cloud this outlook. This mixed bag is impacting consumer spending on food and beverages, according to the latest IRI Consumer Connect survey findings that recently were released. Food inflation softened in Q1 2019 to 1.7 percent compared to 2.2 percent in 2018, but not everyone is freely opening their wallets. Younger Millennials (born 1990+) are outspending older generations in food dollars, while older cohorts are more likely to be using a number of money-saving tactics to keep food bills manageable. To get a closer look at the most recent food and beverage trends for the beginning of the year, IRI also released “Early View 2019.”

Hemp Vs. Marijuana: CBD Continues to confuse

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. That not only set into motion a race to get more hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products to consumers nationwide but also rampant confusion about their legality. Click here to read more.

Source: The Shelby Report

Farewell & Happy Retirement to Connie Yates

Texas Retailers Association say farewell to a great and valued colleague and member of TRA. As many of you know, Connie Yates with Albertson’s/Tom Thumb, officially retired from the company on September 6th, after over TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. Connie’s contributions to her company, the industry and TRA are too numerous to mention; simply put, she has been an institution within our industry throughout her career. There is more information about Connie and her career in TRA's September newsletter, which is only fitting, given what she has meant to TRA. Also, check out the Dallas Morning News Article about our beloved Connie Yates!

Texas Lottery: New Retailer Bonus Program Restored

The 86th Legislature restored funding for retailer bonuses at an appropriation of $2.019 million for FY 2020. The Texas Lottery introduced a new bonus structure September 1, 2019, based on that appropriation. You can learn more here

 

2019 Texas Retailers Forum Recap

2019 Retail Industry Award Winners Announced

Each year our members vote for the Retailer that has contributed more in the industry. We are proud to recognize these members, and thank them very much for pushing the industry forward with their contributions.

 

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TRA Recap of 86th Legislative Session

The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature officially concluded and was gaveled Sine Die, on Monday, May 27th. This was a different session than in the recent past because Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) was the new Speaker of the Texas House. Additionally, the relationships between the big three, Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Bonnen seemed to be in sync on key legislative issues from the beginning of session, which was a bit different than recent legislative sessions. As always, Texas Retailers Association (TRA) went to work on your behalf in the halls of the Capitol building playing both offense and defense on a variety of issues.

TRA fought very hard to pass good legislation and to kill bad bills that would have been detrimental to our members and industry. On balance, TRA had a good legislative session, getting key TRA priorities passed into law, playing effective defense on potentially harmful bills, and leaving a few key issues to continue to be worked on during the interim. Overall, 7,324 bills were filed during the 86th Texas Legislature and 1,429 of them were passed. TRA actively tracked over 550 bills and hundreds more amendments directly impacting the retail industry.

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2019 Lobby Day Recap & Pictures

On Wednesday, March 20th, the Texas Retailers Association held their biennial Texas Retailers Lobby Day. Members of the Texas Retailers Association visited Austin, Texas to meet with Members of the Texas Legislature about the issues that affect the retail industry. Attendees started their day with breakfast, a briefing on the major issues, and a lesson on “How to Lobby.” After being bused over to the State Capitol, retailers walked the halls, meeting with key legislators and their staff about SNAP Distribution, Wayfair, consistent employment regulations, and other issues that concern retailers and grocers. Members of TRA’s Executive Committee met with Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen. Attendees were encouraged to meet with their Representative and Senator as well. Click here to view some of the highlights from Texas Retailers Lobby Day 2019!

Texas food banks ready to help families impacted by government shutdown

More than 3.5 million Texans will get their February SNAP benefits early because of the partial government shutdown.

The Texas Health and Human Services on Sunday announced that the February SNAP benefits will be issued early. The state said current SNAP recipients will get February benefits automatically loaded onto their Lone Star Cards by Jan. 20.

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2018 Texas Retailers Forum Recap