RILA launches Tech Center for Innovation with Accenture

Arlington , VA, 2017-Mar-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Accenture (ACN: NYSE), today announced the launch of RILA’s (R)Tech Center for Innovation. The new initiative will explore the impact that technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality will have on the retail industry and help retailers create innovative ways of doing business.

RILA collaborated with Accenture to create the (R)Tech Center for Innovation. Accenture will actively work with RILA to shape the overall program, conduct joint research, and bring together retailers and technology start-ups to explore the industry transformation that is being driven by digital technologies.

(R)Tech is a new term coined by RILA to describe the confluence of retail and technology. An (R)Tech company embodies the core values of both those industries – global and local, nimble, and entrepreneurial – to win the loyalty of today’s empowered consumers.

The (R)Tech Center will address five key industry needs by:

  1. Providing Authoritative Research: This will include retail innovation benchmarking, trends, and analysis.
  2. Connecting to Innovation: The center will be used to connect retailers to innovative technologies, companies and ventures, from around the world.
  3. Fostering Innovation: Assist the industry in creating cultures where innovation, creativity and change can flourish.
  4. Activating Innovation: Assist retailers in implementing change management, putting new insights into action and integrating emerging technologies and new innovations across the company.
  5. Burnishing Reputation: Build reputation for retail in innovation hubs and with policymakers and retail talent.

To coincide with the launch, the two organizations have also released an inaugural blueprint: “The Emergence of (R)Tech: A Blueprint for the Confluence of Retail and Technology,” to highlight how technology is disrupting the retail industry, the associated challenges and opportunities, including details of the steps needed for retailers to succeed by taking advantage of the technological disruption.

“We are excited to collaborate with Accenture as we launch our (R)Tech Center for Innovation,” said Sandy Kennedy, President of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Today’s most recognized retailers are entering a new age and it all starts with (R)Tech– where retail meets technology. The Center will bring together some of today’s most beloved retail brands with tech’s brightest stars. Through research and relationships, we hope to further retail’s commitment to fostering cultures of innovation that benefit industry and our customers.”

RILA has formed the (R)Tech Advisory Council which represent some of today’s most established US retail brands. Members include: AutoZone, Best Buy, Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Energizer, Foot Locker, GameStop, Kroger, Lowe’s, QVC, Target, Unilever, VF Corporation, Walgreens, and Westfield.

As part of the (R)Tech Center for Innovation launch, RILA has established a new (R)Tech Innovation Network which will connect recognized tech innovators and Venture Capital firms with retail brands. Network members include: Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Facebook, Greylock Partners, Google, GSVlabs, Shoptalk, Techstars, and XRC Labs.

“Today, U.S. and global consumers are driving change in retail at an unprecedented rate. Changing consumer values, preferences, and lifestyles, have led to disruption in virtually every industry; retail perhaps more than any other,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Retail at Accenture. “Through (R)Tech we believe Accenture and RILA can foster innovative business practices that will help shepherd retail into the future.”

To learn more about the Center and its future activities, visit www.rtech.org.

About RILA
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 394,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

SOURCE: Retail Industry Leaders Association

Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association responds to the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations

Arlington , VA, 2015-10-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to news that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have concluded and an agreement has been reached among the 12 participating Asia-Pacific nations, including the United States.

“Retailers welcome today’s news and applaud U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S negotiators for their commitment to bolstering U.S. competitiveness around the world,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “The TPP agreement is historic and will save American families hundreds of millions of dollars by providing American businesses with improved access to critical markets throughout the Pacific Rim. We look forward to supporting the agreement and working to ensure the benefits of the TPP agreement are understood as the agreement is ratified through Congress.”

Ms. Kennedy also serves as a member of the White House Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. She was first appointed to the position in 2010.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Liz Hunger joins The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) as Director for State Government Affairs

Arlington, VA, 2015-6-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced today that Liz Hunger has joined the association as Director for State Government Affairs. In this role, Hunger will manage RILA’s relationships with State Retail Association partners and facilitate communications with RILA member company executives with state government affairs as part of their portfolio.

Prior to joining RILA, Hunger served as the lead on state policy issues for the nation’s largest trade association in the electronic physical security industry, the Security Industry Association.

In previous roles, Hunger provided technical assistance on various USAID-funded global public health projects as a Program Advisor for Futures Group Global and served as a staffer in the U.S. Senate.

Hunger earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish Language from the University of Delaware.

“As we continue driving the retail industry’s public policy agenda on both the state and federal level, Liz will ensure our members’ are engaged and their interests well represented among stakeholders across the country,” said Joe Rinzel, RILA’s senior vice president for government affairs. “We are excited to welcome Liz to RILA and know that her talent and experience will provide added value to RILA members and the industry at-large.”

Hunger officially joins RILA today, June 1.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issues statement in response to the passage of Trade Promotion Authority in the US Senate

Arlington , VA, 2015-5-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in the United States Senate.

“Retailers applaud the Senate for passing this important trade legislation that will pave the way to reduced trade barriers for American businesses and save money for middle-class American families,” said Hun Quach, vice president for international trade. “TPA will spur economic growth and bolster America’s competitiveness by creating new opportunities for American workers and businesses around the world. We now urge the House of Representatives to move quickly to consider and pass TPA.”

TPA is critical to the successful implementation of trade priorities, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).The TPA legislation approved by the Senate strengthens provisions to raise labor and environmental standards, creates a level playing field for businesses and workers around the world, and ensures that new issues, such as state-owned enterprises and digital trade, are addressed in future trade agreements. TPA also gives our negotiating partners certainty to make the difficult decisions required to reach a final agreement.

As part of the trade agenda, RILA supports a comprehensive, high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with a membership and coverage that provides significant market access opportunities in all sectors. The most important issues for retailers in the TPP are the elimination of duties and creation of workable rules on high-tariff items, such as apparel and footwear. Further, retailers believe that the TPP should eliminate supply chain barriers. If these issues are addressed, the TPP could save American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, while promoting trade and investment, thus enabling retailers to provide the latest products and technology to American families.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association comments on Obama’s remarks on cyber security in the State of the Union address

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s remarks on cyber security in the State of the Union address.

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — “The President’s focus on cyber and data security is welcome in the fight against evolving cyber-attacks.  Retailers call on Congress to provide assistance and ensure retailers have the partners and the tools to fight a growing and sophisticated enemy and protect Americans. This includes increased threat information sharing, a single, national data breach notification law, increased card security and collaboration on evolving technologies in order to defeat cyber criminals.”

The attacks from nation state actors, cybercriminals, and hacktivists are increasingly targeting American businesses and financial institutions with more sophistication than before. We must work together to discover and defeat attacks, mitigate harm, and create resilient systems. Retailers have made great strides this year, including:

First Retail ISAC – The Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center

Last year RILA, along with some of America’s leading retailers, set up the first ISAC for the industry, the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC). The R-CISC is a comprehensive resource for retailers to receive and share threat information, advance leading practices and develop research relevant to fighting cyber threats.

The R-CISC is the cybersecurity resource for the retail industry, open to retailers and merchants of all segments and sizes and aims to become a resource for not only the retail industry but related merchant industries as well. The R-CISC is making tremendous strides and is now interviewing and hiring an Executive Director to run the Center. This is just one more step to continuing the growth of the center. More here: www.r-cisc.org

Cyber Threat Information Sharing Legislation

RILA partnered with the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) last year to establish the Merchant-Financial Cyber Partnership. The Partnership was created to bring the two industries together to work on a private sector solution to protect the payments system.  At the end of 2014, the Partnership sent a joint letter to Congress outlining principles for and urging Congress to pass cyber threat information sharing legislation.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Allie Brandenburger
Senior Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association announced the election of four retail executives to its Board of Directors

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced today the election of four retail executives to its Board of Directors. The election took place during the semi-annual Board of Directors meeting, held Sunday in Amelia Island, Florida. Joining the association’s Board of Directors are:

  • Brian Cornell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Target Corporation
  • Alexander Gourlay, President, Walgreen Co.
  • Thomas Millner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cabela’s Inc.
  • Michael Polk, President and Chief Executive Officer, Newell Rubbermaid

Also, two current board members were re-elected to the board at Sunday’s meeting

  • Madison Riley, Managing Partner, Asia Pacific, Kurt Salmon
  • Todd Tillemans, President, Customer Development, Unilever

“I am pleased to welcome these industry leaders to RILA’s Board of Directors. RILA’s ability to represent the interests of the retail industry is dependent on the expertise, insight and support provided by our board members,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. RILA is an outspoken advocate for the most critical issues facing the retail industry. RILA remains at the forefront of a number of battles, including the fight to level the playing field for all retailers as it relates to the collection of state sales tax. RILA also plays a leading role on issues including cybersecurity, comprehensive tax reform, health care, privacy, trade and a variety of labor and finance issues.The 2015 RILA Board of Directors:

  • Richard Dreiling, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Dollar General Corporation (Chairman)*
  • Eric Wiseman, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, VF Corporation (Treasurer)*
  • Robert Niblock, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Secretary)*
  • William Rhodes, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, AutoZone, Inc (Second Vice Chair).*
  • Hubert Joly, Chief Executive Officer, Best Buy Co., Inc.*
  • James Myers, Chief Executive Officer, Petco Animal Supplies, Inc.*
  • Brian Cornell, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Target Corporation
  • Joseph DePinto, President & Chief Executive Officer, 7-Eleven, Inc.
  • Alexander Gourlay, President, Walgreen Co.
  • Ken Hicks, Executive Chairman, Foot Locker, Inc.
  • Alan Hoskins, President & Chief Executive Officer, Energizer Household Products, Energizer Holdings, Inc.
  • David Lenhardt, President & Chief Executive Officer, PetSmart, Inc.
  • Karen Lowe, General Manager, Global Retail Industry, IBM Corporation
  • Thomas Millner, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cabela’s Inc.
  • Paul Mulligan, President, Coca-Cola Refreshments, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Michael Polk, President & Chief Executive Officer, Newell Rubbermaid
  • Madison Riley, Managing Partner, Asia Pacific, Kurt Salmon
  • Walter Robb, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Whole Foods Market, Inc.
  • Gregory Sandfort, President & Chief Executive Officer, Tractor Supply Company
  • Todd Tillemans, President of Customer Development, Unilever
  • Myron Ullman, Chief Executive Officer, J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
  • Sandy Kennedy, President, Retail Industry Leaders Association*

*Denotes Executive Committee Member

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Jennifer Safavian joins The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) as Executive Vice President for Government Affairs

Ways And Means Veteran Brings Nearly 20 Years Of Public Policy Experience To RILA

Arlington , VA, 2015-1-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced today that Jennifer Safavian has joined the association as Executive Vice President for Government Affairs. As RILA’s top lobbyist, Safavian will oversee RILA’s federal and state advocacy, guiding an agenda that includes cybersecurity, e-Fairness, tax reform and other critical issues facing the retail industry.

Safavian brings nearly 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill to her new role. She joins RILA after four years in senior leadership positions on the House Ways and Means Committee, including serving for the past three years as the Committee’s Staff Director. In that role, she managed a staff of more than 50 lawyers, analysts and subcommittee staff, and oversaw the development of policy related to a range of high profile issues, including tax, trade and health care.

Safavian has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the “Top 10 Lawyers on Capitol Hill” and as one of Roll Call’s “Fabulous 50” Top Congressional Staff Members.

Prior to joining the Ways and Means Committee, Safavian spent eight years as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In this position, Safavian led a team of 20 attorneys that made up the oversight and investigations team for the Committee with primary investigative authority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Earlier in her career, Safavian served on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. She also practiced law in both the District of Columbia and Michigan. Safavian earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from St. Louis University and a law degree from Michigan State University. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan, Missouri and the District of Columbia.

“Jennifer’s extensive experience in policy development combined with her leadership skills position her well to provide RILA members an exceptional level of expertise and strategic thinking,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “With a deep understanding of the issues critical to retail, Jennifer will be a strong advocate for the industry and a valuable addition to the RILA team.”

Safavian officially joined RILA today, January 5.

RILA is an outspoken advocate for the most critical issues facing the retail industry. RILA remains at the forefront of a number of battles, including leveling the playing field for all retailers as it relates to the collection of state sales tax. RILA also plays a leading role on issues including cybersecurity, comprehensive tax reform, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, privacy, trade and a variety of labor and finance issues.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

The Retail Industry Leaders Association welcomes Nicholas Ahrens as VP of Privacy and Cybersecurity

Arlington, VA, 2014-9-15— /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) today announced Nicholas Ahrens will join the association as Vice President of Privacy and Cybersecurity.

Joining the association from the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ahrens will lead RILA’s privacy and data security agenda and serve as the lead advocate to the government on cybersecurity, privacy, data security and related issues. In addition, Ahrens will work on the continued development and implementation of RILA’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative.

Ahrens, who officially joined RILA September 8th, will also staff the RILA Privacy Leaders Council, which is comprised of senior-level executives from America’s largest retailers.

“Nick brings valuable insight into the critical privacy and data security challenges retailers face today. His experience will make him an outstanding advocate for the retail industry and we are excited to have him on the RILA team,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

Ahrens joins RILA after four years with the U.S. Department of Commerce serving in a number of senior roles including Counsel to the General Counsel, where he provided legal and policy advice on a number of privacy and cybersecurity issues. Earlier in his career with the U.S. Department of Commerce, serving as special assistant to the General Counsel, Ahrens worked on the 2012 White House Consumer Data Privacy Blueprint, coordinating efforts for the roll out of the Blueprint in the European Union.

Ahrens will report to Joe Rinzel, senior vice president for government affairs.
“Nicholas will be a tremendous asset to RILA and our member companies, both in his knowledge of privacy and cybersecurity issues and his deep understanding of the current regulatory climate,” said Rinzel.

Ahrens holds a J.D. from Wake Forest University.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Allie Brandenburger
Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org