Two Retail Trade Groups Agree to Merge

Posted April 21, 2009 at 9:59pm

The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association announced Tuesday night their intentions to merge the two trade groups by summer. The NRF and RILA executive committees voted unanimously to a merger in principle to create a single trade association for the nation’s retail interests.

The RILA’s executive board voted in late March to move ahead with the merger, while the NRF’s executive board voted Thursday.

“It goes without question that this is a historic time for our industry,— RILA spokesman Brian Dodge said. “But with great challenges comes great opportunity to strengthen the retail industry and the organizations that support them.—

While the RILA represents the largest retailers in the country, the NRF’s membership is more diverse, consisting of small and large retailers. The membership does not have a lot of overlap, but the issues that they cover do, according to Dodge.

To become official, the NRF and RILA boards and membership need to vote in support of the merger.

Dodge described the decision as a positive “first step— and said it was too early to determine the effect that a merger might have on association staff and outside lobbying firms on retainer.