Retail bodies NRA and NRA announce amalgamation plans

The National Retail Association (NRA) and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have announced plans to amalgamate.

The not-for-profit organisations have signed a heads-of-agreement for the amalgamation proposal, which will once approved by their respective members create a single unified body representing the $420 billion sector.

Tim Schaafsma, Chair of the NRA, said the combined strengths of the two organisations will elevate the impact of the sector to the benefit of all Australians.

“Retail contributes enormously to our country’s economic success and social wellbeing and a strong retail sector is in the interests of all Australians.  Our two organisations are aligned in our focus, and we come together in the spirit of doing what’s in the best interests of our retail community.

“There’s great strength in numbers and we are confident our members and the sector as a whole will appreciate and embrace this progression towards a unified voice for retail.  The merged entity will truly represent the whole Australian retail sector, irrespective of size, segment or geographic location.”

Nicole Sheffield, President of the ARA, said a unified sector is a winning proposition for retail and the broader economy.

“The ARA has been on a mission to unify the industry in recent years and today’s announcement is the result of significant discussions over time between our two organisations.

“It makes absolute sense to create one voice for retail, and to combine our strengths to support the growth of this vital sector which employs one in ten Australians.”

The two organisations are currently formalising their amalgamation application to the Fair Work Commission, but in the meantime will collaborate on joint advocacy within the priority areas of retail crime, retail trading hours, and the industry application to vary the General Retail Industry Awards.

The first collaboration between the two will take place at the Retail Crime Symposium on 18 July 2024, in which the NRA and the ARA will join forces to host.

The event will bring together police, government, SDA union, Crimestoppers and retailers large and small from across the nation to tackle one of the sector’s most significant issues.

Lindsay Carroll, Acting CEO of the NRA, said the timing of the Symposium is important.

“The physical, financial and mental health toll of retail crime on our retail teams is not going away. After intense customer aggression through the pandemic years and beyond, for some team members the fear and apprehension getting even worse.

“We have been working consistently on this problem with our members, and the time has come to step forward as a united sector to fast-track solutions. Government and police are key to this change, and we are pleased to have the ongoing support from authorities in this important area.”

The symposium will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne on Thursday July 18.

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