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Public Policy
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay Addresses Business Execs in Northern Virginia on Value of Retail; Highlights Industry’s Public Policy Priorities
For immediate release
November 10, 2011

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NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay Addresses Business Execs in Northern Virginia on Value of Retail; Highlights Industry’s Public Policy Priorities

Washington, November 10, 2011 – The retail industry has a more hopeful vision for the future of the economy based around four simple words – jobs, innovation, consumer value – said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay during a keynote address today at the Interface Retail: Washington, D.C. Metro Conference. In the speech, Shay detailed the retail industry’s impact on the economy and the sector’s long-term outlook to hundreds of real estate, business, technology and finance executives from the Washington area as NRF continues to roll-out its multi-year, multi-faceted Retail Means Jobs campaign.

“The retail industry continues to demonstrate its strength and resiliency in this difficult economic time,” said Shay. “Not only has the retail industry witnessed 15 consecutive months of growth, but it is primed – with the support of good public policy and ‘smart’ reform – to make an even greater contribution to the overall economy and employment.”

Shay delivered his remarks at a conference organized by Shopping Center Business magazine and its publisher France Media, Inc. The conference bought together owners, investors, developers, lenders and financial intermediaries, leasing and operations specialists, and other business leaders from the region’s retail real estate industry.

In the speech, Shay highlighted four major public policy priorities from NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign, announced in September 2011:
•    Open up new markets for trade and investment
•    Fix the broken visa system to encourage greater business exchange
•    Reform the tax code to make it more competitive and fair for all retailers
•    Ease excessive regulatory burdens on America’s job-creators

At the heart of the Retail Means Jobs campaign is the leveraging of the retail industry’s economic and employment strength toward achievable public policy goals.

“Retail is the cornerstone of our communities and supports one in four American jobs and roughly 20 percent of GDP,” said Shay. “To renew our faith and confidence in the American dream, we need our policy makers and leaders to look toward America’s Main Street retailers to understand what works, what doesn’t and what is needed to spur even further economic growth and opportunity.”

Shay also covered a number of industry trends that are driving a healthy outlook for retail into 2012, including department stores staging a comeback, online shopping driving traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, and the incorporation of mobile retail into company plans.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation.