The New Zealand Retailers' Federation has existed since 1921 under three names. Originally it comprised only those retailers selling clothing, textiles, and footwear. About 18 years ago it widened its representation to include drapers, department stores, chain stores, speciality fashion houses, and retailers of men's and boys' wear, household appliances, footwear, crockery and household hardware, and furniture and furnishings. It represents 2,900 retailers and an estimated 3,500 stores.
The federation watches over members' interests, disseminates useful information to retailers, fosters efficient retailing and service to consumers, encourages high ethical standards, and acts as a negotiator and authoritative link between the Government, State Departments, manufacturers, and wholesalers. The federation also keeps a close watch on economic trends and advises members on matters governed by economic fluctuations and on Government policies and legislation. Proposed legislation is scrutinised and any relevant retailers' views are submitted to the Government. For many years the federation, through its subsidiary organisation, the New Zealand College of Retailing, has been active in staff training. It has recently extended its work to include retail-management training, more particularly for the smaller store owners.
The federation, which comprises 15 district associations, all completely autonomous, is managed by a council appointed by the associations. Six national trade groups, representing the various types of stores in the federation, are subordinate to the council in matters of national policy, but autonomous in matters affecting their own trading sphere. A national secretary and staff look after general administration. Members are kept in touch with developments through a monthly journal, Retailer of New Zealand.
by Arthur Oman Heany, General Secretary, Associated Chambers of Commerce of New Zealand, Wellington.