Report: Higher retail wages would be a win-win-win for companies, workers, consumers

November 19, 2012 | | MSNBC |

Retail companies don't have to choose between high wages and high profits, argues a new report from the researchers at Demos.

In Retail’s Hidden Potential, policy analyst Catherine Ruetschlin says that higher wages across the retail industry would create jobs and reduce poverty without cutting significantly into employers’ profit margins.

In the study, Ruetschlin examines the potential impact of an industry-wide $25,000 wage floor. “For the typical worker earning less than this threshold, the new floor would mean a 27% wage raise,” she writes.  On a Monday morning conference call, she said the raise would “impact more than 5 million retail workers,” and “lift 734,000 people out of poverty.”

Furthermore, she said, a wage increase would be a boon to the economy, retail companies, and the consumers. Bringing the wage floor up to $25,000 a year “would increase GDP by between 11.8 and 15.2 billion dollars,” she said.