ARA, NRA announce merger plan

(Source: Bigstock)

The Australian Retailers Association and the National Retail Association have finally signed a heads of agreement on a proposal to merge, a plan that was called off in 2019.

The amalgamation of Australia’s top two retail lobby groups will result in a single unified body representing the $420 billion sector.

“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 10 Australians,” said Nicole Sheffield, ARA president.

“While 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.”

As the two associations agreed to formalise their merger application to the Fair Work Commission, they are expected to immediately start collaborating 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.

“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,” said Tim Schaafsma, NRA chair.

Business as usual will continue for the ARA and the NRA until a new framework for the proposed new entity is introduced in due course.

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