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National Retail Federationís 101st Annual Convention Draws Record 25,500 Attendees

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202) 783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com

National Retail Federation’s 101st Annual Convention Draws Record 25,500 Attendees
-President Bill Clinton, EXPO Hall Showcases, Prominent Guest Speakers Accentuate Success of Event-

Washington, January 30, 2012 – Breaking all previous attendance records for Retail’s BIG Show, NRF’s 101st Annual Convention and EXPO, held recently at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, welcomed 25,500 attendees from around the world, up from the 22,500 attendees who joined NRF for its 100th Anniversary in 2011. NRF’s Convention was held Sunday, January 15 – Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

“The phrase ‘jaw-dropping’ best summarizes the overall theme of NRF’s 2012 Annual Convention, and there was a buzz in the air like never before,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “From President Bill Clinton’s inspirational keynote to the jam-packed EXPO hall full of the latest retail technologies, every aspect of the event was bigger and better this year.”

“Our success is due in large part to our committed retail members, who attend the Convention every year; the leading retail service providers, who ensure an amazing experience on the EXPO floor and at our sessions; and our amazing team, many of whom work year-round to ensure that the thousands of attendees we welcome at Retail’s BIG Show have a great experience,” continued Shay.

Highlights of the conference include:

•    President Bill Clinton welcomed a packed main hall on Monday, with more than 4,000 eager attendants listening to his remarks on “Embracing Our Common Humanity.”  In addition to some of retail’s most exciting and influential speakers, including Macy’s Chairman, President and CEO Terry Lundgren and Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods and winner of NRF’s Innovator of the Year award, attendees also heard from world-renowned experts on topics including the economy and consumer spending, sustainability and mobile retailing.

•    On Monday and Tuesday of the event, NRF welcomed thousands of attendees onto its 152,000 square foot EXPO Hall floor, which featured some of the world’s most advanced retail technologies from companies including Google, Intel, Microsoft and IBM. Despite reduced space due to renovation work at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which also resulted in NRF having a waitlist for EXPO hall space, the success of this year’s event has already led to 95 percent of next year’s EXPO hall space being rebooked.  

•    Among the attendees were executives from leading retail companies across the globe, including Brazil, Japan, Germany, Canada and the U.K., welcoming more than 5,500 international attendees from 78 countries with total international attendance increasing 25 percent over last year. Total conference attendance, excluding sponsors and exhibitors, increased 12 percent over last year.

•    The Convention wasn’t the only thing setting records this year. Retail’s BIG Blog had a total of 47,000 page views during the four-day event, up from 37,000 last year. NRF’s mobile app was also immensely popular during the four-day event, guiding thousands of attendees through myriad educational, networking and social events.

•    Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, hosted its First Look track during the convention, welcoming digital, multichannel and mobile experts from around the world. More than 1,000 people eagerly joined in the sessions Monday and Tuesday during the First Look track.  

For overall highlights of the BIG Show, including links to STORES Magazine’s digital Show Daily, Retail’s BIG Blog highlights, information about presentations and more, click here.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com