Retailers Most Aggressive Benefits Cost Cutters

October 20, 2006 ( - A new survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting found retailers lead other employer types in implementing aggressive employee benefit cost controls.

According to a press release, Mercer’s 2006 Retail Industry Benefits Survey found that retail organizations rely solely on defined contribution (DC) plans more than all companies in the S&P 500 when providing retirement benefits to non-executive employees. According to the survey, 41% of retail organizations provide retirement benefits solely through DC, compared with just 19% of the S&P 500 companies.

Mercer also found that non-qualified defined benefit plans for executives are offered by fewer than 20% of the retail companies surveyed compared to 50% of companies in general industry, the release said.

As for health care costs, which are a great concern to employers, the survey revealed that retailers use a full range of strategies that manage costs, including employee cost-sharing, consumer-directed health plans, and programs that provide basic health care but limit other health care expenses. Preferred Provider Organization plans are most commonly offered by retailers, as they usually require lower premiums than Health Management Organization plans.

Additionally, according to Mercer, retailers were less likely than most large employers to offer post-retirement medical benefits.

The 2006 Retail Industry Benefits Survey was based on findings from Mercer’s Retirement Financial Management Survey, Mercer’s Benefits Valuation and Prevalence Survey, and Mercer’s Executive Retirement Benefits Survey.

For more information about the 2006 Retail Industry Benefits Survey, contact Mark Rowles at .