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The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have announced plans for an amalgamation.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have announced plans for an amalgamation.

Major Australian retail associations announce merger

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have announced plans for an amalgamation.

The two not-for-profit trade associations have signed a heads of agreement. If members approve, the organisations will be combined into a single unified body.

An amalgamation of the two associations was attempted in 2019, before being abandoned due to concerns about the representation of small and medium sized retailers, and the financial viability of the entity. At the time, the ARA had around 8,000 members while the NRA had 4,000. 

The ARA began as the Master Retailers Association of NSW in 1903, and has undergone several name changes and amalgamations over the past century. President Nicole Sheffield said unification was in the best interest of Australia’s retail industry.

Nicole Sheffield, ARA President
Nicole Sheffield, ARA President
"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."
Nicole Sheffield, ARA

“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,” she 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 ten Australians.”

NRA chair Tim Schaafsma said that ‘strength in numbers’ was a message the industry could rally behind.

“Retail contributes enormously to our country’s economic success and social wellbeing and a strong retail sector is in the interests of all Australians,” he said.

"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."

He continued: “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.”

The ARA and NRA will now begin formalising the amalgamation with the Fair Work Commission.

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