etailing has come a very long way since the first merchants sold their wares from pushcarts. Today we shop around the world for the perfect goods to satisfy our customersâ€™ ever-changing tastes, we rely on increasingly sophisticated technology to run our businesses and anticipate new trends, and we have training programs to
ensure our sales staff provide consumers with a satisfying customer experience. Yet the pace of competition continues to increase. Today, the typical customer has more options than ever before. Stores proliferate and access to the Internet and its myriad shopping venues is growing rapidly. Despite this competition, there are many areas where retailers benefit from working together, sharing information and best practices and joining forces to influence pressing public policy issues. Through NRF, the industry gains a collective voice that is exponentially more influential and effective than could be achieved autonomously or in smaller coalitions. Many of the activities under the NRF umbrella, such as providing critical research, advocating industry messages to elected officials and the media, and developing industry conferences, are vital to our industry and would not be possible without NRF. I encourage you to read more about NRF and these activities in the following pages. And I thank the businesses and individuals that are contributing to the organizationâ€™s success.
Gordon I. Segal Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee CEO, Crate & Barrel