Retail industry to 'speak with a single voice'

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

WASHINGTON--The executive committees of the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association announced yesterday an agreement to merge together into a single trade association representing the retail community. There will now be a single entity both helping to establish best practices for loss prevention and lobbying state and federal government in regard to major security issues like organized retail crime.

"The new association will bring the entire breadth of the retail community together, large and small," said Brian Dodge, spokesperson for RILA. "An organization to speak with a single voice on public policy issues, but also provide a strategic value for members and retail professionals to come together to discuss operational excellence and operational issues that they all face."

Dodge said the motivation for the merger was to strengthen the representation of the industry. "There was some crossover with members, but there was considerable crossover on issues. It seemed like a logical move" to bring these two organizations together, he said.

The current economic situation was also a driving force, he said. "Given the current economic environment and some of the challenges the industry is facing, there's a great opportunity to take advantage to look inward and strengthen the way the industry is represented," Dodge said. "This merger is more a reflection of identifying, in times of challenge, ways to strengthen your position. Many retailers are thinking that way and so are we as representatives of them."

The executive committees of both organizations unanimously voted to approve the merger, which is expected to be complete by the end of this summer.

A name for the new association has not been released.

The current conference schedule of both associations will not be affected, said Dodge. RILA will hold its Loss Prevention, Auditing and Safety conference May 3-6 in Orlando, Fla., and NRF will hold its Loss Prevention Conference and Exposition June 15-17 in Los Angeles.