National Retail Federation

National Retail Federation
Logo of the National Retail Federation

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association.[1] Its members include department store, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, and independent retailers, and chain restaurants and grocery stores. Members also include businesses that provide goods and services to retailers. 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.



Major divisions of NRF include:

  • Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), an organization with international membership, which works to reduce the costs of technology by helping the implementation of technology standards. ARTS has four standards: The Standard Relational Data Model, 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


  • 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.[2] Attendance in January 2008 was 18,500; in January 2009 it dropped by 8%, to a total of 17,000.[3]
  • 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.[4], based on a survey on Friday and Saturday of the weekend. A Wall Street Journal article after the weekend questioned that projection.[5] By comparison, ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago market-research company with a different methodology, reported a sales decrease of 0.9% on Friday,[6] and an increase for the weekend of just 0.4%.[5]. In July 2006, NRF predicted a substantial increase in back-to-school sales,[7] and in September 2006 it also predicted a large increase in Halloween spending.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.


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.[10] Mullin joined NRF in 1976[11] and became president in 1993.[12] Shay joined the IFA in 1993 and was named president in 2004 and chief executive in 2007.[13]

As of 2010, the NRF Board of Directors was chaired by Terry J. Lundgren, the President and CEO of Macy's. His predecessor was Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III], the Chairman and CEO of J. C. Penney. Members of the board include board chairs, CEOs, and/or presidents from Crate & Barrel, L.L.Bean, Liz Claiborne, Petco, Saks, and other well-known retailers.

2009 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.[14] RILA is based in Arlington and has a staff of about 30.[15]

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.[16] The combined association was be 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.[17]

In late June, the NRF and RILA announced that the merger had been called off.[18] 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.[19]

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. ^ "Setting Retail in Motion", NRF 97th Annual Convention & Expo, New York City, January 13–16, 2007
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Blockbuster Black Friday Weekend Sees Sales Near $28 Billion", National Retail Federation, November 27, 2005
  5. ^ a b Carl Bialik, "Holiday Sales Numbers Don't Add Up", Wall Street Journal Online, November 30, 2005.
  6. ^ "Black Friday Sales Flat as Holiday Shopping Season Begins", ShopperTrak, November 26, 2006
  7. ^ "Electronics and Apparel to Fuel Back-to-School Spending, According to Latest NRF Survey", press release, National Retail Federation, July 18, 2006
  8. ^ "As Halloween Shifts to Seasonal Celebration, Retailers Not Spooked by Surge in Spending", press release, National Retail Federation, Septem ber 20, 2006
  9. ^ "National Retail Federation spent $460K lobbying". Associated Press. March 10, 2009. 
  10. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (March 18, 2010). "National Retail Federation to name Matt Shay as new president". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ "National Perspective: Tracy Mullin", Business Strategies Magazine, November 2005
  12. ^ Greg Jacobson, "Mullin ensures NRF stays nimble", MMR, May 2005
  13. ^ Elissa Elan (March 17, 2010). "Shay leaves IFA to lead retail group". Restaurant News. 
  14. ^ "NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin Announces Retirement". Retail Solutions Online. April 22, 2009. 
  15. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (April 22, 2009). "Retail Groups Plan Merger To Boost Lobbying Efforts". Washington Post. 
  16. ^ "NRF, Retail Industry Leaders Association to Merge". Home Furnishings Business. Apr 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ Mark Albright (May 5, 2009). "Tampa's new Ikea to feature 2010 style". St. Petersburg Times. 
  18. ^ "Trade groups NRF and RILA call off planned merger". June 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (June 25, 2009). "National Retail Trade Groups Decide to Nix Planned Merger". Washington Post. 

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