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The pandemic and the trillions of dollars spent to manage the economic fallout have been a stark reminder of the impact government policy can have on the retail industry.
Of perennial importance to the industry is the minimum wage, which has remained unchanged at the federal level since 2009 while increasing in several states and cities far beyond $7.25 an hour.
Democrats pushed for a $15 minimum wage to be included in the recently passed stimulus bill but were rebuffed by a Senate official and some within their party. The push is unlikely to subside, though, especially amid heightened public awareness of risks to frontline workers from COVID-19.
Retail's relationship to the minimum wage today may well be different in years past. Complicating the industry's approach are new data, consumer sentiment on the topic and some big names pegging their starting wages to the $15 mark and beyond.