Monday, June 29, 2009

One Voice? More Like Two Agendas

The expected merger of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has been nixed. The two boards of directors of the retail industry’s leading organizations called off the merger last week, an unexpected development considering the groups’ excitement when the merger was announced two months ago.

The executive committees of both organizations voted unanimously for the merger previously. The new organization was expected to have a powerful lobbying presence that was “going to knock the socks off of Washington, D.C.,” NRF VP of public relations Scott Krugman told me then.

However, the full boards apparently couldn’t find common ground between the two organizations’ goals and agendas, according to the Washington Post. The NRF, with approximately 2,500 members, is the world’s largest retail trade association, while RILA, with about 200 members, includes many of the retail industry’s largest companies.

NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin, who announced her retirement in April and is in the final year of her contract, will remain with NRF.