Friday, November 17, 2017

Supporting Retail Employers

Fostering an economic environment where retail business can thrive is an important goal for our state so I was pleased to be invited to speak at the 99th annual meeting of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) yesterday at Bentley University.

Yesterday’s session featured an issues report moderated by Jon Hurst, President of RAM, and a group roundtable discussion where I and Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk engaged those in attendance. Governor Charlie Baker gave a keynote speech in the afternoon.

The challenges facing retailers are numerous, and we need to understand productive ways that we can work with them to address those challenges. That is why I proposed the creation of the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Strengthening Local Retail. Senate President Stan Rosenberg and I partnered on the idea, which now has a 13 member task force, to engage stakeholders across the state to better understand how local business can become more competitive in an economic environment increasingly dominated by large online sellers.

With one in five jobs in our state connected to the retail sector it is easy to understand the enormity of the impact these business have on the lives of working families. Retailing supports more than more than 930,000 jobs in the state which in turn generates 13% of our state’s GDP. I am optimistic that the Task Force will propose ideas that will help these sellers become more competitive and this will give consumers greater choices, better prices, and the satisfaction that they are positively impacting our local economy.