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Retail peak says failed merger ‘a big letdown’

The Australian Retailers Association has expressed disappointment over news this week that the NRA will not be proceeding with a merger.

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The National Retailers Association (NRA) board on Tuesday announced that a proposed merger between the two peaks had come to a grinding halt.

The peak ruled out the merger, saying that the board had decided it wasn’t in the interests of its members given financial uncertainty and the risk of small businesses being pushed aside.

Russel Zimmerman from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) on Thursday told Retailbiz that the failed bid was a huge letdown and said the peak would continue to push for it.

“Can I say to you that we were extremely disappointed in the fact that it didn’t happen,” he said.

“We think it’s fair to say there should only be one single national retail association. Unfortunately there isn’t and governments want to speak with one and that’s why the ARA has been trying to merge the groups.”

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In a message to members on Wednesday evening ARA President Rowan Hodge said the peak “remain committed” to the eventual creation of a single organisation.

The message, seen by Retailbiz, says that just two weeks after a “positive meeting” the NRA terminated discussions.

The discussions also reveal that CEO of the NRA Dominique Lamb was put forward as the proposed CEO of the merged entity.

“The ARA and the MRG remain committed to the eventual creation of a single voice to represent all Australian retail businesses, whether small, medium or large,” Mr Hodge said.

The ARA, Australia’s largest retail representative body with more than 7,800 members, says they remain open to negotiations.

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