Retail group to Obama, Romney: Don't forget about us

In all, the retail group wrote, the industry either directly or indirectly supports a fifth of the private-sector workforce, and puts its muscle behind charity and social outreach initiatives on both the local and corporate level.

“Consequently, when economic challenges strike or government actions such as harmful regulations and overly burdensome taxes emerge, the harm caused often affects the many individuals and industries reliant on retail,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chief executive and the chairman of the RILA board, and Sandy Kennedy, the retail group’s president, wrote in separate letters to Romney and Obama.

“Conversely, when the environment is conducive to growth, entire communities can benefit from the retail industry’s success.”

Republicans have historically been thought of as the more pro-business party, and RILA and other retail groups, like the National Retail Federation, have urged that Obama’s healthcare overhaul law be repealed. 

But the retail industry is also pushing hard for an online sales tax measure that is sharply opposed by many leading conservatives, and has had a long spat with the banking industry over the fees that banks can charge on debit card transactions.

RILA has not endorsed either Obama or Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and has not backed presidential candidates in the past. The group has not contributed to either candidate’s campaign either, a spokesman said.