Australian Retailers Association & National Retail Association announce amalgamation plans

Retail peak bodies, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have announced a proposed amalgamation, which will once approved by their respective members create a single unified body representing the $420 billion sector.

The two not-for-profit organisations have signed a heads-of-agreement for the amalgamation proposal and will commence collaboration immediately for the greater good of the retail industry.

ARA President Nicole Sheffield said a unified sector is a winning proposition for retail and the broader economy.

“The ARA has been on a mission to unify the industry in recent years and today’s announcement is the result of significant discussions over time between our two organisations.

“It makes absolute sense to create one voice for retail, and to combine our strengths to support the growth of this vital sector which employs one in ten Australians.

“Whilst the resilience of retailers has been second to none in recent years, the headwinds we face as a sector have never been more challenging – from supply chain challenges and retail crime to sustainability outcomes and the rise of artificial intelligence. Joining forces for the good of our industry is an obvious win for all parties,” she said.

NRA Chair Tim Schaafsma said the combined strengths of the two organisations will elevate the impact of the sector to the benefit of all Australians.

“Retail contributes enormously to our country’s economic success and social wellbeing and a strong retail sector is in the interests of all Australians. Our two organisations are aligned in our focus and we come together in the spirit of doing what’s in the best interests of our retail community.

“There’s great strength in numbers and we are confident our members and the sector as a whole will appreciate and embrace this progression towards a unified voice for retail. The merged entity will truly represent the whole Australian retail sector, irrespective of size, segment or geographic location.

“In the meantime, we look forward to working together on a range of collaborative ventures in the coming months as we take active steps towards the proposed amalgamation,” he said.

Whilst the two entities formalise their amalgamation application to the Fair Work Commission, the two organisations will collaborate on joint advocacy work within the priority areas of retail crime, retail trading hours and the industry application to vary the General Retail Industry Awards.

A new framework for the proposed new entity will be announced in due course with both organisations collaborating where it makes sense. In the interim, it is business as usual.

Combined, the ARA and NRA will represent the full diversity of the retail sector.

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