The National Retail Federation has acquired the Reverse Logistics Association, the association announced today.
NRF made the announcement during RLA’s Leadership Summit, taking place in Atlanta this week.
“NRF has a long history of convening supply chain professionals to collaborate and develop resources that improve the retail industry. Retailers understand the importance of sustainability practices and the environmental, economic, social and consumer benefits that accompany them,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
Terms of the transaction were not released.
“As consumer demand for sustainable offerings continues to increase, RLA’s reverse logistics expertise will help our members to ‘close the loop’ and accelerate the emergence of the circular economy.”
— Matthew Shay, NRF president & CEO
RLA was founded in 2002 to fill what it found to be a gap in the “aftermarket supply chain.” That term was refined to become reverse logistics, which has become a critical part of the supply chain as e-commerce has exploded over the past decade.
RLA estimates reverse logistics is equal to between 3% and 15% of gross domestic product – at least $360 billion and as much as $1.8 trillion per year.
Membership in RLA exceeds 150 companies currently.
“Joining NRF is an exciting opportunity for RLA and our members,” said RLA Executive Director Tony Sciarrotta. “NRF recognizes reverse logistics as the backbone of the circular economy and understands how it plays a vital role in broader sustainability initiatives for the retail industry. Through this partnership, RLA will continue to reach industries investing in the circular economy and enhance NRF’s long-term commitment to retail’s supply chain and sustainability efforts.”
Sciarrotta took over the association in 2016, becoming the first executive director of RLA.
NRF sees a fit for RLA as the circular economy – the concept of turning gently used or “pre-loved” products and excess inventory – gains traction. The reverse logistics industry manages the collecting, sorting, repairing and refurbishing of products for resale or recycling.
NRF members include many of the world’s largest retailers, many of whom are building out significant reverse logistics operations.
“As consumer demand for sustainable offerings continues to increase, RLA’s reverse logistics expertise will help our members to ‘close the loop’ and accelerate the emergence of the circular economy,” said Shay.