|Type||Retail trade association|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|Matthew R. Shay|
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association. Its members include department stores, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, and independent retailers, chain restaurants, and grocery stores. Members also include businesses that provide goods and services to retailers, such as vendors and technology providers. NRF represents the largest private-sector industry in the United States that contains over 3.8 million retail establishments with more than 29 million employees contributing $2.6 trillion annually to GDP.
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 vs. Wayfair 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.
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.
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 award-winning infomercial-style television ad aired on Saturday Night Live that explained how the tax would raise prices and kill jobs.
In late 2013 David French, the NRF's senior director of government relations, said the organization would start distributing campaign contributions in Republican primary elections to oppose the Tea Party movement and adjust to the "changing environment on Capitol Hill" that has contributed to what he called "the three-ring circus that has transfixed Washington." "We are looking at ways to counter the rise of an ideological brand of conservatism that, for lack of a better word, is more anti-establishment than it has been in the past," French said. "We have come to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines is not good enough."
In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two-year period. The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. The NRF opposed the bill, saying that "raising the standard of living for low-skill, low-wage workers is a valid goal," but that "there is clear evidence that mandate wage hikes undermine the job prospects for less skilled and part-time workers." The trade group also argued that this was the "least opportune moment" to increase the minimum wage because employers were still dealing with the fallout of changes they needed to make because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").
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, the law has forced some retailers to keep payrolls below the 50-worker level for 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.
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.
NRF helped convince the Department of Labor to reverse an expanded definition of "joint employer" that exposed companies to easier unionization and increased lawsuits over labor disputes. The NLRB also reversed a ruling that allowed the creation of "micro-unions" that would have allowed individual stores within a retail chain to be separately unionized or even individual departments within a store.
NRF led the retail industry in helping defeat proposed regulations that would have required companies to pay overtime to millions of more workers. The rules would have driven up costs for employers while taking away worker flexibility important to career advancement and resulting in little or no increases in actual take-home pay. NRF challenged the law in a suit with 21 states and dozens of business groups resulting in an injunction that kept the proposed expansion from taking place.
In 2018, Big Show had more than 300 speakers, 500 exhibitors, 36,500 attendees and 500 sessions.
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. Mullin joined NRF in 1976 and became president in 1993. Shay joined the IFA in 1993 and was named president in 2004 and chief executive in 2007. \
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. 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.
The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend. In 2018, the NRF projected that retail industry sales will grow between 3.8 and 4.4 percent over 2017.
|2017||$678.8 - $682 billion||3.6% - 4%|
The NRF has about 18,000 members, including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores. Among the notable associations that are members of the NRF in its role as an umbrella organization are: