National Retail Groups Decide to Nix Merger

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two of the nation's largest retail trade groups said yesterday that they have abandoned plans to merge after reviewing the operations and goals of both organizations.

The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent the country's biggest chain stores, were scheduled to present the merger proposal to members this summer. But board members have decided not to move forward.

"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.

RILA President Sandy Kennedy was to oversee the transition, and she is planning to hold a conference call with members today. NRF chief executive Tracy Mullin announced her retirement in April, shortly after plans for the merger were released. NRF spokesman Scott Krugman said Mullin's contract runs through December.

The NRF is headquartered in the District and employs more than 100 people. It has roughly 2,500 members that include national chains, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and online retailers. The RILA has about 200 members that include retail suppliers, service providers and 60 mass chains. The group is based in Arlington and has a staff of about 30.

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