Industry Definitions

NRF Event Registration Pass Types

Don’t know which kind of event pass you need? Here’s how NRF determines which pass type is for you.

Retail company

NRF defines a retailer as a company that meets the following criteria:

  • The core business is to sell consumer goods directly to the end consumer via storefront, catalog, television or online.
  • The company must own the merchandise it sells.
  • The company must be able to provide a business license confirming its status upon request.
  • The company must currently be in business.
  • Chain restaurants, grocers, and convenience stores are included in this definition.

Solution provider/non-retail

NRF defines a service provider as a company whose core business is to provide products, services or solutions to retailers. Examples include:

  • Your company primarily sells business-to-business or wholesale. While an individual consumer could purchase a product from you directly, most of your customers are businesses. Example: A company that sells point of sales systems primarily sells them to businesses.
  • Your company runs a website, provides an ecommerce platform, and/or processes transactions on behalf of a retailer as a third-party. Example: ABC Company runs the website for XYZ Retailer, but its staff is employed by ABC Company. ABC is the vendor and XYZ is the Retailer.

Consumer services company

A company whose core business is providing services to the end consumer. Examples include rental services, ride sharing services, subscription services, streaming services, etc.


NRF defines a manufacturer as a company whose core business is selling products it manufacturers to retailers for resale to consumers.

Private/investment holding company/venture capital

A private equity investment, financial holding, or venture capital company is one that is the ultimate parent company and has full ownership of the retail brand(s).

Retail real estate/mall management company

NRF defines this category as a company whose core business is non-residential property for commercial profit-making purposes. Such companies may own or manage malls, shopping centers, and other commercial real estate properties.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) company

NRF defines a CPG company as one that sells non-durable goods to other businesses that are consumed by the average consumer.

Visual merchandising firm/store design

NRF defines a visual merchandising firm /store design as a company whose core business deals with the strategic visual concept only for retail environment.  Your company does not sell any products.


Analysts may be either individuals or organizations whose core business is producing research and analysis on issues related specifically to the retail industry. For more information contact


NRF welcomes industry members of the press to cover its conferences. Due to the increasing number of media attending our events, we have established an approval policy for granting editorial press members complimentary registration. For more information, contact


To be eligible for the educator rate at NRF events, an individual’s primary occupation must be as a teaching faculty member instructing students in a public or private college or university, junior or community college or career/vocational school. Educators may also be a director of a college or university center for retail.

Educators must be prepared to submit two of the following: Current curriculum vitae, scanned copy of a valid university ID, link to profile page on an eligible institution’s website.

*NRF reserves the right to determine which companies qualify and under which category.

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