Industry Definitions

NRF does not consider you a “retailer” if:
  • Your company has not yet launched, there are no stores or online sales opportunities, you do not have a website, and there is no way to verify your retailer status.
  • Your company does not sell merchandise to consumers. Your company manufactures consumer goods that can primarily be purchased through third-party distribution partners (excluding franchisees);
  • 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.
  • Your company aggregates and sells/auctions merchandise that is owned by other companies/individuals and/or you provide a service by which retailers’ products are promoted and sold through your website. The messaging on your parent company’s website primarily discusses things such as “solutions,” “services,” “apps,” “partners,” and/or “clients” and gives no indication of, or links to, any subsidiary retail companies.
  • Your company’s primary purpose is to develop/produce, manage, promote, or distribute “apps” (mobile applications).

Retail company

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

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.

Consumer services company

NRF defines a consumer services company as one 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 with a core business of 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.

Service provider/non-retail

NRF defines a service provider as a company with a core business that provides products, services or solutions to retailers.

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 can 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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