Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Merger made in retail (trade group) heaven

April 22, 2009

nrfThe National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are joining forces.

The competing trade groups say they will merge to create a single association to represent retail interests in Washington DC. 

“The challenges and opportunities before our members are unprecedented. Now is the right time to bring these associations together,” said RILA Chairman, Robert Niblock, CEO of Lowe’s Cos, and NRF Chairman Mike Ullman, CEO of J.C. Penney, in a joint statement.

Currently, retailers are lobbying lawmakers against passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. The pending bill would let workers decide whether to unionize by signing a petition or by holding a secret-ballot election. Employers can now require a secret ballot. rila

Many retailers have voiced strong opposition to the bill, and Wal-Mart’s newly installed CEO Mike Duke told the Today Show that it is a bill that “would be damaging to the American economy.”

On the heels of the merger announcement, NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin made public her plans to retire. In an open letter to NRF members, Mullin says she told the leaders of the NRF last year that she intended to retire after more than 30 years at the trade group.

“During my incredible ride at NRF, I have seen the retail industry undergo a real transformation,” she says in an open letter to NRF members. “(I’m not too embarrassed to admit I joined NRF before the bar code was mainstream.)”

(Logos from and

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