Executive Briefings

After 44 Years, Wal-Mart Stores Joins National Retail Federation

Walmart has now officially joined the National Retail Federation (NRF) as a member. For those new to retail, this may seem to be no big deal, but the background is that Walmart and the NRF have been in what amounts to a blood feud for decades.

After 44 Years, Wal-Mart Stores Joins National Retail Federation

Why have the world's largest retailer and the world's largest retail organization been doing this Hatfields-and-McCoys thing? This all started back in 1969, when the NRF was known as the National Retail Merchants Association and Walmart's annual revenue was about $30m (about $190m in 2013 dollars).

According to several people involved, the bad feelings started when Walmart founder Sam Walton came to New York City"”where the association was based at the time"”and lobbied to join the group. They did something that one doesn't do to Sam Walton: They rejected him, saying that they didn't want Walmart as a member since it was a discounter. Given that there is nothing that has been more a part of Walmart's culture than holding a grudge, that rejection kept Walmart out of the association for 44 years.

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Why have the world's largest retailer and the world's largest retail organization been doing this Hatfields-and-McCoys thing? This all started back in 1969, when the NRF was known as the National Retail Merchants Association and Walmart's annual revenue was about $30m (about $190m in 2013 dollars).

According to several people involved, the bad feelings started when Walmart founder Sam Walton came to New York City"”where the association was based at the time"”and lobbied to join the group. They did something that one doesn't do to Sam Walton: They rejected him, saying that they didn't want Walmart as a member since it was a discounter. Given that there is nothing that has been more a part of Walmart's culture than holding a grudge, that rejection kept Walmart out of the association for 44 years.

Read Full Article

After 44 Years, Wal-Mart Stores Joins National Retail Federation