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National Retail Federation

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National Retail Federation

National Retail Federation
Formation 1911
Type Retail trade association
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
  • United States
Chief Executive Officer Matthew R. Shay

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association.[1] Its members include department store, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, and independent retailers, chain restaurants, and grocery stores. Members also include businesses that provide goods and services to retailers, such as vendors and technology providers. NRF represents an industry that contains over 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments with more than 24 million employees and (2005) sales of $4.4 trillion. NRF is also an umbrella group that represents more than 100 associations of state, national and international retailers.


  • Divisions 1
  • Activities 2
  • Legislation 3
  • Conferences 4
  • Leadership 5
  • 2009 proposed merger with RILA 6
  • Retail Sales 7
  • National associations and members represented 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Major divisions of NRF include:

  • UnifiedPOS, ARTS XML and the Standard RFPs.
  • The National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies, which has existed since the early 1960s.
  • Retail Advertising & Marketing Association (RAMA), a trade association of marketing and advertising professionals working at retail companies, and their counterparts who work at advertising agencies and media and service-providers.
  •, an association of retailers who sell online.
  • International Retail Federation (IRF), which serves the needs of retailers based outside the United States through networking events, education, products, services and other resources.

The NRF also has a research and education arm, The NRF Foundation (NRFF), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization created in 1981. It conducts industry research, develops education and workforce development programs, and promotes retailing as a career


  • NRF publishes STORES Magazine, monthly, covering the entire range of interests of NRF members, and LPinformation Magazine (formerly LP&Security Trends), bi-monthly, covering loss prevention. STORES also publishes, annually, its Retail Industry Buying Guide and its Software Sourcebook.
  • The organization regularly does sales projections. For example, for the Thanksgiving weekend in 2005, the NRF projected that sales would be 22% above the prior year.,[2] based on a survey on Friday and Saturday of the weekend. A Wall Street Journal article after the weekend questioned that projection.[3] By comparison, ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago market-research company with a different methodology, reported a sales decrease of 0.9% on Friday,[4] and an increase for the weekend of just 0.4%.[3] In July 2006, NRF predicted a substantial increase in back-to-school sales,[5] and in September 2006 it also predicted a large increase in Halloween spending.[6]
  • For the fourth quarter of 2009, NRF reported spending $460,000 to lobby on a variety of issues, from apparel tariffs to consumer product safety.[7]
  • In April 2013, the NRF launched its “This is Retail: Careers, Community, Innovation” campaign, "a multi-million-dollar campaign to broaden perceptions of its industry beyond one of part-time jobs with limited advancement opportunities." Bill Thorne, SVP of communications at the NRF, pointed out: “There is a common misnomer that you can't advance in the retail field…we have to get people to understand that retail isn't only for college kids working part-time. It's a hard perception to change because people don't see beyond the cash register or aisles being stocked.”[8] As part of the campaign, the NRF launched the website to showcase individuals who have fulfilling careers in the retail industry. Beginning in June, ioriginal content will be added such as industry news, retail case studies, and research to the site.
  • In late 2013 David French, the NRF's senior director of government relations, said the organization would start distributing campaign contributions in Republican primary elections to oppose the Tea Party movement and adjust to the "changing environment on Capitol Hill" that has contributed to what he called "the three-ring circus that has transfixed Washington."[9] “We are looking at ways to counter the rise of an ideological brand of conservatism that, for lack of a better word, is more anti-establishment than it has been in the past,” French said. “We have come to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines is not good enough.”[10]


In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two year period.[11] The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House.[12][13][14] The NRF opposed the bill, saying that "raising the standard of living for low-skill, low-wage workers is a valid goal," but that "there is clear evidence that mandate wage hikes undermine the job prospects for less skilled and part-time workers."[15] The trade group also argued that this was the "least opportune moment" to increase the minimum wage because employers were still dealing with the fallout of changes they needed to make because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").[15]


Each of the divisions of NRF has one or more conferences annually. In addition, NRF has an annual conference/convention. The 97th, in New York City in January 2007, had more than 15,000 attendees and 500 vendors.[16] Attendance in January 2008 was 18,500; in January 2009 it dropped by 8%, to a total of 17,000.[17]

Below is the complete list of conferences.

  • NRF’s Annual Convention and EXPO, Retail's BIG Show
  • Washington Leadership Conference
  • NRF Global Supply Chain Summit
  • NRF Loss Prevention Conference & EXPO
  • NRFtech, IT Leadership Summit
  • NRF Human Resources Executives Summit
  • Annual Summit
  • Online Merchandising Workshop
  • RAMA CMO Summit


In mid-March 2010, the NRF announced that Matt Shay, who had headed the International Franchise Association (IFA), would become NRF's president and CEO on May 10, 2010, replacing Tracy Mullin, who was retiring.[18] Mullin joined NRF in 1976[19] and became president in 1993.[20] Shay joined the IFA in 1993 and was named president in 2004 and chief executive in 2007.[21]

As of 2010, the NRF Board of Directors was chaired by Stephen Sadove, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Saks Incorporated. His predecessor was MTerry J. Lundgren, the President and CEO of Macy's. Members of the board include board chairs, CEOs, and/or presidents from Crate & Barrel, L.L.Bean, Liz Claiborne, Petco, Saks, The Container Store, HSNi and other well-known retailers.

2009 proposed merger with RILA

In April 2009, NRF and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced that they would merge.[1] NRF has about 100 employees; and has been based in Washington, D.C. since it moved from New York City in 1993; it had been in New York for 81 years.[22] RILA is based in Arlington and has a staff of about 30.[23]

The process was expected to be completed by summer 2009, after both NRF and RILA went through a due diligence process. The boards of directors of both associations had to recommend the merger, and members of both groups had to approve it.[24] The combined association was run during the transition by RILA President Sandy Kennedy. Kennedy said in May that she envisioned a smaller staff of about 75, down from 135 now employed by the existing associations.[25]

In late June, the NRF and RILA announced that the merger had been called off.[26] The decision was by the boards; members had not yet been asked to vote on the matter. "NRF and RILA will devote all resources to continuing the work they are each doing to address the serious issues that America's consumers and retailers are facing in today's economic environment," the groups said in a joint statement.[27]

Retail Sales

The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend.[28]
Year Date Survey Published Shoppers, millions Average Spend Total Spend Consumers Polled Margin for Error
2011 24 Nov 27 Nov 226m $398.62 $52.5 billion 3,826 1.6%
2010 25 Nov 28 Nov 212m $365.34 $45.0 billion 4,306 1.5%
2009 26 Nov 29 Nov 195m $343.31 $41.2 billion 4,985 1.4%
2008 27 Nov 30 Nov 172m $372.57 $41.0 billion 3,370 1.7%
2007 22 Nov 25 Nov 147m $347.55 n/a 2,395 1.5%
2006 23 Nov 26 Nov 140m $360.15 n/a 3,090 1.5%
2005 24 Nov 27 Nov n/a $302.81 n/a n/a n/a

National associations and members represented

The NRF has about 2,500 members, including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores.[1] Among the notable associations that are members of the NRF in its role as an umbrella organization are:


  1. ^ a b c "National retail groups to merge". Pacific Business News. April 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Blockbuster Black Friday Weekend Sees Sales Near $28 Billion", National Retail Federation, November 27, 2005
  3. ^ a b Carl Bialik, "Holiday Sales Numbers Don't Add Up", Wall Street Journal Online, November 30, 2005.
  4. ^ "Black Friday Sales Flat as Holiday Shopping Season Begins", ShopperTrak, November 26, 2006
  5. ^ "Electronics and Apparel to Fuel Back-to-School Spending, According to Latest NRF Survey", press release, National Retail Federation, July 18, 2006
  6. ^ "As Halloween Shifts to Seasonal Celebration, Retailers Not Spooked by Surge in Spending", press release, National Retail Federation, Septem ber 20, 2006
  7. ^ "National Retail Federation spent $460K lobbying". Associated Press. March 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ NRF campaign promotes retail as a career option PR Week US, retrieved April 11, 2013
  9. ^ Needham, Vicki (September 13, 2013). "Top business groups vow more involvement in primaries".  
  10. ^ lipton, eric; Confessore, Nicholas; Schwartz, Nelson D. (October 9, 2013). "Business Groups See Loss of Sway Over House G.O.P.".  
  11. ^ "S. 1737 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Sink, Justin (2 April 2014). "Obama: Congress has 'clear choice' on minimum wage". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Bolton, Alexander (8 April 2014). "Reid punts on minimum-wage hike". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Bolton, Alexander (4 April 2014). "Centrist Republicans cool to minimum wage hike compromise". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Needham, Vicki (1 April 2014). "Trade groups opposing efforts to raise minimum wage". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Setting Retail in Motion", NRF 97th Annual Convention & Expo, New York City, January 13–16, 2007
  17. ^ Don Davis (September 2009). "NRF/RILA Bust-up: Small fry find it hard to make common cause with retailing industry's great white sharks". Internet Retailer. 
  18. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (March 18, 2010). "National Retail Federation to name Matt Shay as new president". Washington Post. 
  19. ^ "National Perspective: Tracy Mullin", Business Strategies Magazine, November 2005
  20. ^ Greg Jacobson, "Mullin ensures NRF stays nimble", MMR, May 2005
  21. ^ Elissa Elan (March 17, 2010). "Shay leaves IFA to lead retail group". Restaurant News. 
  22. ^ "NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin Announces Retirement". Retail Solutions Online. April 22, 2009. 
  23. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (April 22, 2009). "Retail Groups Plan Merger To Boost Lobbying Efforts". Washington Post. 
  24. ^ "NRF, Retail Industry Leaders Association to Merge". Home Furnishings Business. Apr 24, 2009. 
  25. ^ Mark Albright (May 5, 2009). "Tampa's new Ikea to feature 2010 style". St. Petersburg Times. 
  26. ^ "Trade groups NRF and RILA call off planned merger". June 25, 2009. 
  27. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (June 25, 2009). "National Retail Trade Groups Decide to Nix Planned Merger". Washington Post. 
  28. ^ "Black Friday Weekend Shines as Shoppers Line up for Deals". 

External links

  • National Retail Federation
  • National Council of Chain Restaurants
  • Association for Retail Technology Standards
  • Retail Advertising & Marketing Association
  • Stores Magazine
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