Kurt Barnard, an economist and consultant who specialized for more than 40 years in retailing, manufacturing and consumer behavior, died Nov. 7 from natural causes. He was 82.

Barnard was founding director of both the now-defunct Federation of Apparel Manufacturers and the International Mass Retailing Association, which became the Retail Industry Leaders Association. He was also publisher of “Barnard’s Retail Trend Report” and was widely quoted in the media on retail trends. For decades, he was a fixture at industry conferences and quick to challenge principals on the issues of the day. He was among the first to recognize Wal-Mart’s growth potential and developed a friendship with Sam Walton, who early in the chain’s history came to Barnard for advice.

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