Jump to content

National Retail Federation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Retail Federation
FormationJune 1911 (113 years ago) (1911-06)
TypeRetail trade association
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., U.S.
  • United States
Matthew Shay

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association.[1] Its members include department stores, catalog, Internet, and independent retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, multi-level marketing companies and vendors.

NRF represents the largest private-sector industry in the United States that contains over 3.8 million retail establishments, supporting more than 52 million employees.[2]



The NRF began in 1911 as the National Retail Dry Goods Association (NRDGA). This was also the year of its first annual meeting. In 1958, the NRDGA was renamed the National Retail Merchants Association. In 1990, the association and the American Retail Federation merged to form the National Retail Federation. During all the years, an annual convention was held for members.[3] The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association, with members including department store, specialty, discount, catalogue, Internet, and independent retailers, chain restaurants, and grocery stores. It is also an umbrella group that represents more than 100 associations of state, national and international retailers.[4]

In 2023, the group had to retract inaccurate claims it had made about the prevalence of organized shoplifting. The group had claimed that for 2021 nearly half of the industry's $94.5 billion in missing merchandise was the result of organized shoplifting. In doing so, the group amplified rhetoric that the United States was undergoing a wave of shoplifting. However, experts noted that the group used faulty data and that the figure was closer to 5%.[5]



NRF has argued that there is a harmful economic impact of the trade war with China.[6][7][8]

In November 2019, NRF called on lawmakers to adopt a “uniform and fair framework” for the handling of sensitive data.[9]



The NRF successfully lobbied for passage of long-sought comprehensive tax reform that lowered rates for individuals and businesses alike, and said the measure would help create jobs while leaving workers with more take-home pay. During the year-long debate, NRF defeated a proposed “border adjustment tax” that would have driven up the price of imported consumers goods by 20 percent and which nearly sidetracked tax reform. The NRF's campaign against the import tax was highlighted by an infomercial-style television ad aired on Saturday Night Live that explained how the tax would raise prices and kill jobs.[10][11]

NRF supported legislation passed by the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its employer mandate, which requires businesses to provide workers with health insurance at levels dictated by the government. Since passed in 2010, some retailers have kept payrolls below the 50-worker level to avoid triggering the law and to keep workers below the 30-hour a week definition of full time that requires coverage. The measure passed the House but died in the Senate.[12][13]

NRF defeated an effort to repeal debit card swipe fee reform that has saved retailers and their customers an estimated $8 billion a year since 2011, blocking an effort to allow the card industry to resume price-fixing of debit card fees.[14][15]



After fighting for online sales tax collection in Congress and the courts for over 15 years, NRF welcomed a Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. allowing states to require online sellers to collect sales tax the same as local stores. The ruling came after NRF submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in the case arguing that modern software had removed any burden once associated with collecting sales tax and that the lack of sales tax collection had given online sellers an unfair price advantage over local stores.[16][17]

NRF and other groups seeking patent reform won when the Supreme Court upheld a process that allows questionable patents to be reviewed administratively rather than requiring litigation. The ruling will help rein in “patent trolls,” which have targeted retailers with frivolous lawsuits over off-the-shelf technology and routine practices like attaching a file to an email.[18][19]



NRF championed a Department of Labor final rule, which expanded overtime pay eligibility. The final rule was applauded by NRF as a reasonable, thoughtful approach to updating the nation's overtime rates, bringing overtime eligibility up to speed with the modern economy.[20]



NRF successfully advocated[21] for the CARES Act, signed into law in 2020 to provide relief for retailers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which included: $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, expansion of unemployment insurance, relief for retail workers and consumers and corrected the qualified improvement property (QIP) error in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).[22]



In September 2021, NRF launched an advocacy campaign "S.O.S: Save Our Shipments" in response to the crisis in American's supply chains.[23] The campaign outlined three ways to address the supply chain crisis, which included passing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, adding more truck drivers to the workforce and passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. All three legislative items were enacted by 2022.



NRF successfully lobbied for passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act[24] to helps address longstanding systemic supply chain and port disruption issues that was signed into law[25] by President Biden in June 2022.



In December 2023, NRF retracted a claim it had made in April that "nearly half" of retail inventory shrinkage in 2021 was attributable to organized retail crime (ORC). Data actually showed that 37% of shrinkage was attributable to all external theft, not limited to ORC.[26]



In 2018, Big Show had more than 300 speakers, 500 exhibitors, 36,500 attendees and 500 sessions.[27] In 2019, Big Show had 500 speakers, 700 exhibitors, 37,000 attendees and 500 sessions.[28]

In 2020, Big Show had more than 300 speakers, 800 exhibitors, 40,000 attendees and 200 sessions.[29][30][31] In 2023, the 113th annual convention of the National Retail Federation, NRF 2023: Retail's Big Show, brought together more than 35,000[32] attendees.



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.[33] Mullin joined NRF in 1976[34] and became president in 1993.[35] Shay joined the IFA in 1993 and was named president in 2004 and chief executive in 2007.[36]

During his time at the helm, Shay is credited with doubling the organization's revenue. The largest revenue source, conferences and conventions like the Big Show and Shop.org, increased by nearly two and a half times, and its net assets have quadrupled, according to information provided to Retail Dive from the NRF.[37] The organization's membership base has grown up to 18,000 retailers today, many of which are small businesses. Shay also notably brought on Walmart in 2013 after decades of courting.

Retail sales


The National Retail Federation releases an annual retail sales forecast each spring. NRF forecasted that 2024 retail sales would be between 2.5% and 3.5% to between $5.23 trillion and $5.28 trillion.[38]

The 2024 sales forecast compares with 3.6% annual sales growth of $5.1 trillion in 2023.[39] The 2024 forecast is in line with the 10-year pre-pandemic average annual sales growth of 3.6%.[40] Additionally, NRF issues a retail sales forecast for each winter holiday season. Retail sales during the 2023 November to December holiday season grew 3.8% over 2022 to a record $964.4 billion.[41]

COVID-19 Pandemic


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NRF has asked the federal government to step in to support retailers coping with a serious downturn in discretionary spending.[42] In March, NRF called for mandatory default and foreclosure stays or federally ordered rent abatement to relieve retailers faced with closure orders.[42]

NRF also suggested government-backed loans and tax relief, including reinstatement of the net operating loss carryback, assistance with payroll costs, and expansion of employee retention tax credits to retailers with financial losses related to the decline in purchases of most goods beyond food and other essentials.[42]

In July, NRF asked for further financial assistance for retailers in a letter to congressional leadership. The letter requested an increase in funding to loan and financial assistance programs to help retailers retain employees, including expediting the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness for all loans up to $150,000.[43]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NRF's educational arm, the NRF Foundation, offered its introductory training course, Retail Industry Fundamentals, for free.[44] This was done to support individuals applying for the almost 1 million jobs posted by U.S. retailers.[44] NRF compiled those positions on its website job board.[45]

National associations and members represented


NRF members include department, specialty, discount, catalog, internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores, grocery stores and retail associations.[1][46]


  1. ^ a b "National retail groups to merge". Pacific Business News. 22 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Business Fallout: Airlines Beg for Aid; Google Launches Site". The New York Times. Associated Press. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  3. ^ "NRF Turns 100: A century at the heart of retail’s evolution." Retail Timeline sidebar. STORES magazine, February 2011, pages 26, 29, 30.
  4. ^ Merchants, The Ohio Council of Retail. "National Reach | The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  5. ^ Medina, Eduardo (8 December 2023). "Retail Group Retracts Startling Claim About 'Organized' Shoplifting". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  6. ^ Fernandez, Henry (17 June 2019). "Tariffs aren't only way to solve problems with China, NRF's David French says". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  7. ^ Collins, Michael. "Businesses, farmers tell Trump China tariffs would backfire: 'We are shooting ourselves in the foot'". USA Today. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Rail News - NRF: Retail imports to see final tariff-driven surge of 2019. For Railroad Career Professionals". Progressive Railroading. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  9. ^ Gangitano, Alex (22 November 2019). "Retailers lead coalition to urge Congress to pass a federal privacy bill". The Hill. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  10. ^ Thomas, Lauren (19 July 2017). "Retailers' fight against a border adjustment tax looks to be heating back up". CNBC. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Why a commercial about tax policy will run during SNL this week". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  12. ^ "NRF throws support behind American Health Care Act | Home Accents Today". www.homeaccentstoday.com. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  13. ^ Tara. "Affordable Care Act Implications for Small Businesses". www.frf.org. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  14. ^ "NRF Consumer Survey Debit Card Swipe Fees | PYMNTS.com". www.pymnts.com. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Retailers to Supreme Court: Don't Revive Swipe-Fee Settlement". Convenience Store News. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  16. ^ "South Dakota v. Wayfair heads to Supreme Court | Home Accents Today". www.homeaccentstoday.com. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  17. ^ "15 Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of South Dakota Sales Tax Fairness Petition to Supreme Court". the American Booksellers Association. 14 November 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Patent trolls' favorite target? Not tech. Retail". Fortune. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  19. ^ "NRF Appeals to Supreme Court on Patent Trolls - Convenience Store Decisions". Convenience Store Decisions. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  20. ^ "US Department of Labor issues final overtime rule". DOL.gov.
  21. ^ "Retailers Welcome Legislation to Expand Small Business Pandemic Loans | 2020-04-23 | Security Magazine". www.securitymagazine.com. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  22. ^ Tostado, Alex (22 April 2020). "NRF Lauds Legislation to Expand Funding for Small Businesses by $300B Amid Pandemic". REBusinessOnline. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  23. ^ "NRF praises the House passing of Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2022". Stationary Trends. 14 June 2022.
  24. ^ "NRF Calls On Biden Administration To Eliminate China Tariffs To Ease Inflation | SGB Media Online". sgbonline.com. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  25. ^ House, The White (16 June 2022). "Bill Signed: S. 3580". The White House. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  26. ^ Fonrouge, Gabrielle (7 December 2023). "Retail lobby group's retraction of key crime claim shows how hard it is to track theft". CNBC.
  27. ^ "The NRF Big Show: Apparel's Top 20 Takeaways". Apparel Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  28. ^ Krenzin, Keneavy. "Reimagining Retail - NRF Big Show 2019 Recap". blog.agilenceinc.com. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  29. ^ "NRF 2020: MegaTakeaways Overheard at the Big Show". RIS News. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Commentary: Three Standout Trends from NRF 2020". Chain Store Age. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  31. ^ Banker, Steve. "Retail's Big Show, NRF 2020: The Rise of the Store". Forbes. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  32. ^ Verdon, Joan. "Retailers Are Looking For Ways To Sell Smarter In 2023 And Beyond". Forbes. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  33. ^ Ylan Q. Mui (18 March 2010). "National Retail Federation to name Matt Shay as new president". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ "National Perspective: Tracy Mullin", Business Strategies Magazine, November 2005
  35. ^ Greg Jacobson, "Mullin ensures NRF stays nimble", MMR, May 2005
  36. ^ Elissa Elan (17 March 2010). "Shay leaves IFA to lead retail group". Restaurant News.
  37. ^ "The transformation of the NRF — and how Matthew Shay envisions the future". Retail Dive. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  38. ^ "US retail sales to increase between 2.5% and 3.5% in 2024, trade group forecasts". AP News. 20 March 2024. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  39. ^ PYMNTS (21 March 2024). "NRF Expects 'Moderate but Steady' Retail Sales Growth in 2024". PYMNTS.com. Retrieved 25 June 2024.
  40. ^ "NRF: Retail sales to reach at least $5.23 trillion in 2024". Chain Store Age. 20 March 2024. Retrieved 25 June 2024.
  41. ^ "NRF: Census Data Shows 2023 Holiday Sales Grew 3.8%". www.licenseglobal.com. Retrieved 25 June 2024.
  42. ^ a b c "NRF pushes government to come to retail's aid". Retail Dive. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  43. ^ "Retail industry calls for targeted relief amid coronavirus pandemic". The Hill. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  44. ^ a b "National Retail Foundation Offering Free Online Trading During Pandemic". MH&L. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  45. ^ "The National Retail Federation steps up to support the fashion industry". fashionunited.uk. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  46. ^ "The transformation of the NRF — and how Matthew Shay envisions the future". Retail Dive. Retrieved 24 September 2018.