3.) Brick-and-mortar retailers face a complicated and anti-competitive regulatory environment. The Obama administration has been especially harsh on retailers. The National Labor Relations Board has imposed all sorts of new rules allowing for quick and easy unionization and requiring new workplace notices. Meanwhile, Obamacare places new burdens on all employers, but retailers are especially hard hit because many of their employees are seasonal or part time. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law, with its 800 pages of new rules, is yet another regulatory nightmare for retailers. This has left the market only to big players who can afford to comply with the new law.
Retailers are the heart of every town in America. But they are increasingly burdened by government policies that are putting them out of business.
Until and unless we change our direction and start confronting a ridiculous situation where job-creating employers pay higher taxes and face costlier regulations than their online brethren, we will see even more empty storefronts, higher unemployment and more services cut by state and local governments starving for sales tax revenue.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream.”