NRF 2015 Annual Report

Key Retail Victories

A Joint Message from the Chairman and CEO

From victories on Capitol Hill to leading the conversation on the economy to helping support and encourage the next generation of talented retail leaders, 2015 was a year of firsts and unprecedented growth in the way NRF serves retailers across the country.

With dozens of issues on the retail industry’s agenda, coming up with accomplishments to highlight in NRF’s annual report this year was no challenge. Instead, the difficulty was in narrowing down the list to those that had the most impact for you, our members.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the year for our import-dependent industry was enactment of Trade Promotion Authority, which will make it easier to complete trade agreements around the globe. We also won improvements to the Affordable Care Act, showed that government-mandated minimum wage increases would decrease job creation and that overtime expansion would limit career opportunities. We educated lawmakers that chip-and-signature credit cards provide only half the security of chip-and-PIN cards and worked to ensure that patent reform legislation will truly protect retailers. And while not all issues were resolved by year’s end, we set the stage for robust debate during the upcoming election year and in the new Congress.

Facts and figures to back up rhetoric are essential for winning on Capitol Hill. That is why we launched the new NRF Retail Research and Analysis Center, a multimillion-dollar initiative that has already begun to yield crucial new data demonstrating that retail wages are as competitive as those in any industry, showing the value of retail on a resume and documenting the influence retailers have in shaping our nation’s workforce.

The stage for many of these accomplishments was set at Retail’s BIG Show, which once again reached record attendance with tens of thousands of retailers from around the globe. And we celebrated retail careers by hosting the first-ever NRF Foundation Gala, which drew a who’s who of retail executives, honored the 25 inaugural members of The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future and raised nearly $1.2 million for the foundation’s scholarship programs and efforts to show the next generation of workers the wide range of professional opportunities available in our industry.

As the growth and progress in NRF programs demonstrate, we continue to look for opportunities to add value for our members. We would not exist without you, nor could we do what we do without your engagement and support.

Kip Tindell
Chairman of the Board
National Retail Federation,
Chairman and CEO
The Container Store

Matthew R. Shay
President and CEO
National Retail Federation


Attendees at 22 Conferences and networking dinners


Retail jobs posted on the NRF Job Board




Meetings on Capitol Hill with 450 members of Congress


Miles driven, eight states visited and more than 80 retailers met with on the Retail Across America road trip


Raised at the NRF Foundation Inaugural Gala


College and university partners to help shape the next generation of retail leaders


In scholarships awarded to more than 250 students, educators and current retail employees

Fought and Won Major Policy Battles

Worked to keep commerce flowing

From the passage of Trade Promotion Authority to driving the conversation on the impact of the West Coast ports slowdown, NRF made sure retailers could continue to provide goods and services to their customers in 2015.

“NRF’s Shay: Port Labor-Management
Negotiation System must change” - Journal of Commerce
NRF on CBS Nightly News: West Coast port slowdown could cost U.S. Economy billions
In 2013 U.S. trade supported nearly 6.9 Million U.S. Retail
and restaurant jobs.
- “NRF Trade Matters Study”
NRF on CNBC: Port Shutdown Retail tipping point
NRF VP for Supply Chain and Customs Policy
Jonathan Gold toured the west coast ports.

Battled Government Overreach

NRF was retail’s voice in conversations about the role of government in business, providing real-time and real-world data and stories about the impact of regulations on retailers and their employees.

National Retail Federation: How proposed overtime regulations impact small business
“NRF has put perhaps the most energy
of anyone into the overtime fight.” - Washington Post
NRF brought Terry Shea to Capitol Hill
to testify on how overtime expansion would
harm her small business and its employees.

Fought for the Customer Experience

From data security and EMV credit card implementation to predatory patent trolls, NRF worked to ensure that retailers can provide safe and seamless transactions and experiences.

National Retail Federation: Seven questions about America's credit card system answered
63% of consumers believe chip-and-PIN cards provide
more data security than
chip-and-signature cards.
- NRF Survey of U.S. Consumers
NRF SVP and General Counsel Mallory Duncan
testified before the Senate Commerce
Subcommittee on data security.
NRF sent patent “trolls” to Capitol Hill
to help draw attention to this issue
which plagues retailers.
National Retail Federation: The toll of patent trolls on small businesses
“Retailers Group, pointing to
Prolific patent lawsuit filer,
Calls for reform” - Legal Newsline

Put Retail
Front and Center

Made Retail’s Voice Heard in Washington, D.C.

NRF ensured that retail, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, is recognized as an industry powerhouse and a major player in Washington, D.C.

1,500meetings on Capitol Hill
Met with 450 members
of Congress
125meetings with White House administration

Retailers Took to the Hill

In July NRF hosted the Retail Advocates Summit, which brought 150 top retailers to Capitol Hill for meetings with lawmakers on critical issues like overtime, Internet sales tax collection and data security. In addition to advancing NRF’s policy objectives, this annual meeting celebrates activism by local retailers, builds strong relationships with key state associations and helps to remind lawmakers that one in four jobs are tied to retail.

“If you don’t tell your story and tell them
how it’s like at the real-world level,
they’re not going to have the information
to make a good decision.” - Royal River Natural Foods Owner and America’s Retail Champion recipient Tina Wilcoxson’s interview in the Portland Press Herald
National Retail Federation: Meet America's Retail Champions 2015
America’s Retail Champions finalists at
NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit.

Established the Narrative for Retail’s story

No one tells the industry’s story better than the people who work in retail — NRF’s This is Retail campaign and Retail Across America road trip provided the platform.

Retailers strike back against union-backed ads attacking the industry

NRF reached 8.5 million people with its first national TV ads during the second Democratic presidential debate. The spots featured real people and real footage of retail in action and gained tremendous positive exposure for the industry.

Demonstrated the Impact of Retail

Spotlighted Retail's Importance to the Economy

NRF remained the go-to source for industry and consumer data, providing real-time commentary on some of the nation’s top conversations, as well as cutting-edge research to give members the tools they need to grow their business.

Annual Retail Forecast
3.5% estimated growth in retail sales
6-8% estimated growth in online retail sales
Holiday Retail Forecast
3.7% estimated growth in holiday sales
6-8% estimated growth in online holiday sales
Consumer Spending Surveys

Demonstrated the Value of Retail Jobs


of hiring managers say retail provides employees with important skills and traits.

“Retail’s Value on a Resume: How Jobs in Retail Prepare America’s Workforce for Success”

Produced Cutting-Edge Research Reports

NRF delivered dozens of research reports, industry surveys and white papers to give members the tools they need to grow their business. For a complete list of resources visit the NRF Retail Library.

Strengthened the Retail Community

Shaped the next generation of retail talent

The NRF Foundation created opportunities for current and aspiring retail employees to advance their education, grow their careers and highlight their successes.

In 2015 over $500,000 was awarded
to more than
250 students,
educators and current retail employees through the Ray Greenly, Next Generation, Student Challenge, Rising Stars and Dream BIG scholarships as well as educator stipends for Retail’s Academic Symposium.

The Walmart Foundation awarded an

$800,000 Grant to the NRF Foundation

enabling them to conduct analysis of the retail industry’s learning and development needs, fund three research projects and create a community of leaders in retail learning and development from NRF member companies.

Hosted Award-Winning Events and Cultivated Retail Innovation

From Retail’s BIG Show to student programs to startup competitions, NRF events brought together the best and the brightest to share ideas, learn from industry experts, experience the latest retail technology and celebrate retail.

NRF Foundation Gala:

The NRF Foundation’s inaugural gala was a celebration of the imagination, inspiration and innovation at work in the retail industry today.

Retail’s Big Show:

Former NRF Chairman of the Board Stephen Sadove spoke with former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke.

Startup of the Year Competitions: hosted “Shark Tank”-style competitions at Retail’s BIG Show and the Digital Summit to find the most promising rising stars in retail.


Retail CIOs, CMOs and digital executives had a unique opportunity to discover and explore the latest retail technology while networking with peers in the industry.

Retail’s BIG Show:

Attendees saw the latest retail technology on the EXPO floor.

Retail’s Night Out:

NRF celebrated retail’s entrepreneurial spirit with a one-night-only pop-up event in downtown Washington, D.C.

NRF Foundation:

Student Programs connected tomorrow’s retail leaders with the C-suite.

Retail’s BIG Show iLab:

Attendees had the chance to see, touch and experience some of the most innovative products coming to the marketplace.

Retail’s Academic Symposium:

Undergraduate business professors from 65 schools across the country gathered to discuss the rapidly changing nature of the retail industry. Merchandising Workshop:

Digital retail merchandisers gathered to gain insight into effective merchandising and website conversion.