2023 has been a year full of great challenges and significant opportunities. And what a year it has been for the retail industry and our team at the Washington Retail Association (WR). As we continue to navigate the many industry pressures—including high inflation, workforce shortages, and growing public safety concerns—it has never been more critical for the association to anticipate and respond to the needs of our members and stakeholders.
The remarkably resilient consumer has been the headline story of 2023. Although consumer finances have been in good shape overall, access to disposable income has been shrinking, and credit has become much more expensive. Even with tightening financial conditions curbing consumer purchasing power, retail economists are expecting record spending as we wrap up the 2023 holiday season.
With growing challenges surrounding public safety and retail theft, the association launched a multi-pronged approach to tackle the growing impacts on retailers—large and small. Our collaborative efforts to address the serious issues of Organized Retail Crime (ORC) resulted in the funding of a new ORC unit in the Attorney General’s office. The development of our “Guide to Navigating Public Safety & Retail Crime” has been widely recognized as a credible tool for protecting retailers.
WR has consistently been at the forefront addressing critical issues impacting retailers and as an influential voice in legislative and regulatory discussions, ensuring member concerns are understood and considered in policy making. In 2023, we worked to increase the association’s profile, broadening our sphere of influence with government agencies, partners, and stakeholders across the state to help tackle the most pressing issues facing our industry.
Today, WR represents approximately 3,500 storefronts throughout the state. Retailers of all sizes and sectors, from small businesses to regional, multi-state, and global retailers, have joined together to form a more powerful voice on behalf of the retail industry.
Whether providing resources or advocating politically, we have remained dedicated to delivering high-value service for our members and remain committed to this standard of excellence in the coming year.