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An Open Letter from Tracy Mullin

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June 25, 2009

An open letter to NRF members from NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin:

Tracy Mullin Just two months ago, I wrote to let you know that NRF’s Executive Committee agreed in principle to a merger with the Retail Industry Leaders Association. This week, after a long and deliberate process, the Boards of Directors of both groups have decided to end merger discussions. There is no plan for the two groups to merge at this time—or for the foreseeable future.

As NRF members, you’re likely wondering what this means for you. I’m happy to report that, even during the due diligence and merger process, we have not skipped a beat. Throughout these last two months, NRF has been moving forward in a “business as usual” environment—growing our vibrant committees, adding powerful web content, and conducting valuable benchmarking research. We just completed a very successful Loss Prevention Conference and we’re vigorously planning content and logistics for other unparalleled conferences and networking events, including NRF’s BIG Show in January.

In addition, NRF will continue to serve as the voice of retailing in Washington, pushing Congress and the Administration to deal with the economic issues that have hurt our industry so badly, aggressively pursuing passage of health care reform retailers can live with, and actively working to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act. The NRF government relations staff has repeatedly been named one of the most effective groups in Washington and we have a solid track record of getting things done and done right.

NRF will continue to serve as the association that represents the entire retail industry—from the largest retailers in the world to the smallest, and of course all of the thousands of companies in between. You are the reason why we come to work every day, and we never forget that.

Now more than ever, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of your company’s NRF membership. Get involved in a committee in your respective retail discipline. Attend one of our many conferences or networking events to get ideas that will save your company money. Gain valuable insights on consumer trends and retail benchmarking from our website. And become an ally of ours on Capitol Hill. If there’s something we’re not doing that you’d like to see, please email me directly.

You may also be wondering what this means for me. At this point, it looks like my retirement has been put on hold. I will continue to serve at the pleasure of NRF’s Board of Directors and, while I do dream of the beach, I can honestly think of nowhere else I’d rather be than in our offices in Washington.

We have big plans on the horizon, and I can say for a certainty that NRF’s staff is more committed than ever to serving the needs of all our members, large and small. With an economy in crisis and unpredictability on Capitol Hill, it’s going to be quite a ride. I hope you’ll join us.

All the best,