Retail industry groups set to merge

Crowds in Queen Street mall Brisbane. | Newsreel
Australia's two peak Retail industry bodies have announced a merger. | Photo: Funky Data (iStock)

Australia’s two retail peak bodies will merge to create a unified voice for the nation’s $420 billion sector.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have signed a heads-of-agreement for the proposed amalgamation, which will need to be formalised through the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

Meanwhile, the two not-for-profit organisations plan to start collaborating from today.

ARA President Nicole Sheffield said a unified sector was 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,” Ms Sheffield said.

“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.”

NRA Chair Tim Schaafsma said the combined strengths of the two organisations would 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,” Mr Schaafsma said.

While waiting for the FWC process to be completed, the two organisations plan to 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.