The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay regarding incidents involving retail stores across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis:
It is with deep dismay and shared outrage that our communities express their anger and frustration through peaceful protests over the unjustifiable death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.
Yet racial injustice continues. There is a real problem and divide in this country that we share the responsibility to address. It requires leadership in the municipal, state and federal levels of government, in our schools, our places of worship, our businesses and our homes, so we can work together — honestly, transparently and inclusively — to find solutions.
Defacing, looting and plundering businesses, whether viewed as a direct outgrowth of fury or an opportunistic act of vandalism and theft, impedes progress and healing. Of primary concern to our retailers is the safety of their teams, the communities they serve and the emotional and physical well-being of their African American colleagues and customers. Retailers are committed to the values of diversity, inclusion and opportunity and that has always been at the heart of our industry. The actions of a few are impacting not just stores, but also putting at risk the people who work and shop there.
We must stand together to stop racial injustice. We must work together to create greater understanding of the challenges faced by African American men and women, young and old, in communities large and small. We urge people to stop looting and destruction under the name of protest. It denies access to goods, services and jobs for those who need help the most, and takes focus away from the conversation we must have if we are to heal these wounds — not with talk, but through action.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.