NEW YORK — The National Retail Federation, seeking to boost its overseas membership and provide it with enhanced services, has formed a new division, called the International Retail Federation.

“This is a first stage in designing a multistep, focused program for non-U.S.-based retailers,” NRF president and chief executive Tracy Mullin told WWD on Tuesday.

The new division will enable the NRF to shift more staff and resources to serving the needs of overseas retailers. Among other things, the NRF provides networking events, educational seminars and conferences on such subjects as customer service, technology and products.

The NRF has about 450 foreign retail members, and a total membership of about 3,000 corporations. “The National Retail Federation has always been a true global retail organization dedicated to the needs of retailers worldwide,” Mullin said. “With the creation of the IRF, we can now bring our international members all the benefits and services of NRF within one global entity.”

Current NRF members based outside the U.S. will automatically receive membership in the IRF. Mullin will also serve as IRF president.

IRF membership benefits include:

Access to a forum of International Retail Trade Associations, which includes more than three dozen associations around the world.

Government affairs advocacy and representation on key international issues.

Opportunities to participate on international advisory boards and committees.

Access to NRF Foundation educational initiatives.

Access to original research.

Networking and educational events.

Translations for NRF conferences.

“Collaboration between domestic and international retailers encourages industry growth,” said Mullin. “The inception of a devoted international arm fortifies NRF’s commitment to the global retail landscape.”

Mullin said the IRF is expected to announce in the coming months some key strategic alliances, and detail of its new program for non-U.S. members.

Despite its intensified global effort, the NRF will not change its name to IRF, Mullin assured. “The NRF has a very strong brand name. We’ve spent years developing it. It would be foolhardy to change.”

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