NRF, RILA plan merger
The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association said Tuesday their executive committees have unanimously agreed in principle to a merger.
They said a single trade association representing retail interests in the nation’s capital would “help to ensure that the retail industry speaks with a one voice to advance the industry and its more than 15 million workers.”
RILA has traditionally represented the largest retail chains in the nation. It has about 200 members, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Abercrombie & Fitch. The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, with member companies of all sizes comprising department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores.
“This is an historic time for our industry. The challenges and opportunities before our members are unprecedented. Now is the right time to bring these associations together,” said RILA Chairman Robert A. Niblock, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Lowe’s Cos. Inc.; and NRF Chairman Myron E. 'Mike' Ullman III, chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Co. Inc.
RILA spokesman Brian Dodge said the opportunity to streamline membership organizations as the recession negatively impacts retail sales was an element of the merger decision, not really the driving force.
“Having two trade associations, both in Washington, D.C., representing the same industry made it logical to have those conversations, and they have over the years,” he said.
The situation “gives us the opportunity to see how the organizations are serving their members and become a premier gather point for retail professionals to discuss public policy and operational excellence,” he added.
Until a new structure is identified it is too early in the process to say whether any positions will be eliminated, or new programs are started, he said.
Both organizations are heavily involved in supply chain policy issues and the NRF publishes the monthly Port Tracker, which provides statistics on container volumes at U.S. ports and whether they are experiencing congestion.
The two associations will submit to a thorough due diligence process, and the merger must be approved by their boards of directors and memberships.
The name of the new organization has yet to be determined, but most likely will be new, Dodge said.