The first half of 2009 has been an exciting and productive period for RILA and our members, so I thought I would take to a moment today to highlight some of the achievements made, discuss the work that lies ahead and share some great news about our members.
Today, Congress will officially begin its August recess period, and Members will return home to get feedback directly from their constituents. Given the number of meaningful issues under consideration, they will certainly be busy.
As your advocate in Washington, we have worked hard to be the trusted source to tell the retail industry’s story and inform lawmakers on the decisions facing them. We have been on the front lines of virtually every battle underway in Washington this year. From health care and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to unfair interchange fees and issues in between, we have been the industry’s most strategic and tactical advocate. We have made progress on all fronts, but more work lies ahead.
When Congress returns in September, its busy agenda will likely be dominated by health care. Nevertheless, EFCA, and numerous other issues that could affect our members will likely be considered, and RILA will be there to help shape Congress’ decisions. We are also anxious to continue our efforts to pass organized retail crime legislation, to eliminate the credit card industry’s crippling hold on interchange fees, and to shape upcoming transportation infrastructure legislation to reflect the demands of the 21st century supply chain. We have come a long way on these issues and are poised to move even further.
On our retail-operations side, we recently established a task force to address corporate governance and financial regulatory reform proposals emanating from the SEC and Treasury Department. Additionally, we are making great progress on a number of issues critical to our industry. Our partnership with the British Retail Consortium to develop a voluntary, global consumer product safety standard is on schedule to deliver a final product to the marketplace by late this year. The RILA Sustainability Initiative continues to drive industry collaboration on environmental stewardship and compliance issues, and our sustainability conference scheduled for October 5-7 is shaping up to be a great success. And, our Leadership Forum – the industry’s only gathering exclusively for CEOs and other top leaders – is approaching ‘sold out’ status.
In addition, last month we added Mark Warren to our team as Vice President for Tax Policy. Mark’s depth of tax policy knowledge combined with his strong connections to Capitol Hill and the administration are a terrific addition to our team.
On a separate note, the recently released list of America’s top retailers was dominated by retail companies that have chosen RILA as their trade association. In fact, no trade association represents more top retailers than RILA, with 8 of the top 10 companies on this year’s list. Further, RILA members held the top spot among key retail segments including, apparel, department stores, home improvement, large format and small format, demonstrating that RILA is truly the association for ‘retail leaders.’
Among the retailers on this year’s list were two new additions to RILA’s membership, 7-Eleven and H-E-B. In addition, Donna Karen and American Eagle Outfitters have recently joined RILA as members. Welcome to all!
As you know, RILA is a member-driven organization. Our success is dependent upon the input we receive from you. So, as we look ahead to the challenges and opportunities on the horizon, your input is essential. If you are not already participating in our numerous and varied committee activities, our educational and networking conferences or our other activities for members, please reach out to Suzie Squier at email@example.com or (703) 600-2020 to learn about getting more involved.
In the meantime, thank you for your continued support for RILA and have a great summer.