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At The Atlantic, Sophie Quinton writes, The Trader Joe's Lesson: How to Pay a Living Wage and Still Make Money in Retail:

The average American cashier makes $20,230 a year, a salary that in a single-earner household would leave a family of four living under the poverty line. But if he works the cash registers at QuikTrip, it's an entirely different story. The convenience-store and gas-station chain offers entry-level employees an annual salary of around $40,000, plus benefits. Those high wages didn't stop QuikTrip from prospering in a hostile economic climate. While other low-cost retailers spent the recession laying off staff and shuttering stores, QuikTrip expanded to its current 645 locations across 11 states.

 Many employers believe that one of the best ways to raise their profit margin is to cut labor costs. But companies like QuikTrip, the grocery-store chain Trader Joe's, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity. All three are low-cost retailers, a sector that is traditionally known for relying on part-time, low-paid employees. Yet these companies have all found that the act of valuing workers can pay off in the form of increased sales and productivity.

"Retailers start with this philosophy of seeing employees as a cost to be minimized," says Zeynep Ton of MIT's Sloan School of Management. That can lead businesses into a vicious cycle. Underinvestment in workers can result in operational problems in stores, which decrease sales. And low sales often lead companies to slash labor costs even further. Middle-income jobs have declined recently as a share of total employment, as many employers have turned full-time jobs into part-time positions with no benefits and unpredictable schedules.

QuikTrip, Trader Joe's, and Costco operate on a different model, Ton says. "They start with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be maximized," she says. As a result, their stores boast better operational efficiency and customer service, and those result in better sales. QuikTrip sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience-store chain, Ton found, and sales per square foot are over 50 percent higher. [...]




Be sure to watch for diaries that are part of the Social Security Defenders Blogathon. You can read Roger Fox's kick-off diary at here, which includes some of the people who will be appearing this week.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009Massive National Wilderness Bill Finally Passes:

Hallelujah!!!

More than two million acres of some of the nation's most important wilderness has finally received protection, with passage today of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, aka the Tomnimbus, nicknamed for Tom Coburn who managed to obstruct the passage of the individual provisions of the bill for years. It's not completely great news, but pretty damned close. For a look at the details of what's being protected, and what's not, go check out Congress Matters. It's just a quick hop over there, and your Daily Kos username and password will get you in the door.


Tweet of the Day:

I stand w/ civil rights advocates & the nation to call for an end to #DOMA & achieve marriage equality for all Americans #SCOTUS #Prop8
@SenBlumenthal via web



Plenty of #GunFAIL & gun-related discussion today on today's Kagro in the Morning show. Greg Dworkin updated us on his extensive interview with Australian 60 Minutes, and on the pace of gun policy legislation. The New Yorker takes note of the #GunFAIL phenomenon, teaching us that "melancholy accidents" were around long before our humble hashtag. Also: Mark Sumner's Sunday Kos piece, "Congratulations on your new gun laws,"Salon's "How rich 'moochers' hurt America," and "The 5 Shadiest Crimes Ever Pulled Off by Famous Corporations," from Cracked magazine, of all places!

High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

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