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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

General Questions

Who attends Retail’s BIG Show?

The Convention is the annual event for retailers around the world. The 2012 demographics breakdown who attended and the types of companies represented.

What is Retail's BIG Show?

The NRF 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO is Retail’s BIG Show – a convention and EXPO of more than 25,500 engaged retail professionals from 78 countries. Retail’s BIG Show features educational sessions covering the industry’s most relevant and forward looking topics as well as networking for every retail professional. The 2 EXPO Halls (Level 1 & Level 3) total more than 160,000 sq. ft. We are expecting 500 solution providers offering state of the art technologies and services.

What's the schedule for Retail’s BIG Show?

Retail’s BIG Show kicks off Sunday, morning (January 13th) at 8:30am with breakout sessions. The Convention runs through Wednesday, January 16th. The EXPO Level 1 is open January 13-15, 2013 and EXPO Level 3 is open January 14-15, 2013.

How much does it cost to attend?

See the pricing grid on the registration page for fees. NRF retail members receive discounted individual and team rates. Registering early saves money! If you are interested in membership, please contact our membership department at 800-NRF-HOW2 or 202-626-8123 or email

What do I wear?

Sunday is business casual; this applies especially to the evening’s Opening Reception. We suggest business attire Monday through Wednesday. We also recommend you dress in layers due to fluctuating temperatures within the Convention Center as well as wear comfortable shoes (the Center is an enormous facility).

Who can use the FREE Retailer EXPO Pass?

Retail, store design, and visual merchandising professionals as well as CPG professionals can utilize the Free EXPO Pass on January 13-15 during regular show hours.


Retailer Definition
NRF defines a retailer as a company whose core business is to sell consumer goods directly to the end consumer via storefront, catalog, television, or online. (Chain restaurants are included in this definition.) The company must own the merchandise it sells. Companies primarily engaged in the sale of goods or services to businesses (whether at wholesale or retail) are not considered retailers. 

Consumer Packaged Goods – CPG Company Definition
NRF defines a CPG company as a company that sells (typically on a wholesale basis to retailers) non-durable goods that are consumed by the average consumer at a relatively low cost. Examples include goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, and grocery items.

Store Design Firm Definition
NRF defines a store design firm as a company whose chief business is to provide strategic store design impacting the brand and future growth of the company in the original design of new spaces and the redesign of existing spaces. The company derives the majority of its revenue from store design.

Visual Merchandising Firm Definition
NRF defines a visual merchandising firm as a company that deals with the creative and strategic visual presentation of products and services in any retail environment.

If you sell products or services to a retail company, we consider that business to business. And, individuals selling business to business are NOT considered retail. Non-retailers can attend the Convention but will be required to register either for the full-conference or for the EXPO Pass ($500). The Pass can NOT be used by any individual employed by an exhibiting company. All attendees are required to show a business card and picture identification (passport or driver’s license) at registration. NRF reserves the right to deny entrance to anyone.

Where/when can I pick up my badge?

An e-confirmation will sent to you. Please print it and bring onsite to expedite your registration process. Your e-confirmation has a barcode which allows us to pull up your registration information more quickly onsite. Be prepared to show a business card and photo identification in order to pick up your badge and credentials. If you do not have your e-confirmation, proceed to registration areas in the Crystal Palace or on the Shuttle Drop-off Level (near Hall A).

I am organizing a non-US delegation. Where can I find information about Visa application and travel restrictions?

Visit the International Delegations page for Visa application and travel restriction information. For more information about teams or international delegations, please contact Susan Cuevas at 202-626-8161.

Programming & Education Questions

Is there a formal process for submitting an idea for a session or for proposing a speaker?

Yes. In the spring, we conduct a “Call for Speakers” and collect paper submissions from interested parties. Papers are selected based on several criteria: overall program quality, creativity and innovation, relevance, and originality. The Call for Speakers opens roughly 6 weeks after Retail’s BIG Show and closes in the spring. Learn more.

What's the difference between Keynotes, Breakout Sessions, EXPO Stage Sessions and Exhibitor BIG !deas?

  • Keynotes are hour long sessions where visionary leaders share expertise.
  • Breakout Sessions are hour long sessions that examine – in depth - one specific-retail topic.
  • BIG !deas are thought-provoking, interactive sessions presented by Exhibitors and held in EXPO Level 3.
  • EXPO Stage Sessions are sessions focusing on retial strategy, branding, store design, planning, visual merchandising and will be held in EXPO Level 1. This content is managed by NRF. 

View the 2013 educational program.

Can everyone attend all the sessions?

No. Only Full Conference Attendees can attend ALL educational sessions. Attendees using the EXPO Only Pass only have access to education on both levels of the EXPO: BIG !deas on EXPO Level 3 and EXPO Stage sessions on EXPO Level 1. Retailers with the EXPO Only Pass have access to Main Street Retailing Forum programming on Tuesday, January 15.

Does Retail's BIG Show offer CPE credits?

Attendees of the NRF Annual Convention& EXPO are able to receive a certificate of attendance for their participation in the educational sessions. Certificates may be used to gain CPE credit directly from NASBA. Forms are located at Registration and must be signed by an NRF Staff Person.

Exhibit & Sponsorship Questions

What are the EXPO Hours?

EXPO Level 1:
Jan 13  4:30 PM - 6:00 PM    
Jan 14  9:00 AM - 6:30 PM    
Jan 15  9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

EXPO Level 3:
Jan 14  9:00 AM - 6:30 PM    
Jan 15  9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Where can I find more information on exhibiting and sponsoring?

Review the 2013 NRF BIG Show Exhibitor and Sponsorship Prospectus.

Who do I contact for Exhibit Sales and EXPO sponsorship information?

Contact Tami Sakell at 202-661-3044.

How big is the EXPO Hall Floor?

New in 2013, the BIG Show is expanding its EXPO footprint. We'll still be on Level 3 with 140,000 sq. feet but we've also assumed an additional 22,000 sq. ft. on Level 1. With this new space, we are expecting more than 500 solution providers.

How many Exhibitors are there?

There are more than 500 Exhibitors.

Are there sessions on the EXPO Hall floor?

Yes, Exhibitor BIG !deas will take place in EXPO, Level 3 and the EXPO Stage sessions will be held in EXPO Level 1, and are open to all attendees. Exhibitor BIG !deas thought-provoking, interactive sessions presented by Exhibitors. The EXPO Stage sessions are developed by NRF's content team.

How do I apply to present an Exhibitor BIG !deas Session?

Contact Tami Sakell at 202-661-3044 for availability.

Do I have to exhibit to be a sponsor?

In order to participate in any of the EXPO Hall and Convention sponsorship opportunities, your company must be an exhibitor. To take advantage of Strategic Branding and Thought Leadership sponsorship opportunities, your company does not need to be an exhibitor. Learn more about exhibiting and sponsoring, review the BIG Show Exhibitor and Sponsorship Prospectus.

Who do I contact for Thought Leadership and overall Conference Branding opportunities?

Contact Lisa Marzetti at 202-626-8136 to learn more.

Conference Registration Questions

How do I register?

Register online. Or, download a pdf and mail payment and form in. Registration is not yet open - it will be available in early Summer. If you have questions about registration, please call 708-486-0725.

Can I register onsite?

Yes, but we recommend that you register in advance to take advantage of discounted rates. Registration will take place in the Crystal Palace of the Jacob K. Javits Convention. Registration opens Friday, January 11th and runs through Wednesday, January 16. Registration hours will be posted closer to the date of the Conference.

What are the Registration Policies?

Registrations will not be processed without FULL PAYMENT. Payment must be made by check, money order, or credit card. Payment in U. S. dollars only please! No person under the age of 18 will be admitted into the exposition. No cameras or videos allowed. Registrants are responsible for their hotel and travel accommodations.

What are the Cancellation/Refund/Substitution Policies for Registrations?

All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellations for conference registration postmarked by 12/10/12 will receive a 100% refund less a $100 processing fee. There are no refunds for cancellations postmarked after 12/10/12. All requests for substitutions must be made in writing with a completed registration form. Additional fees may be required based on the replacement's membership status. No pre-registration substitutions will be accepted postmarked after 12/10/12. Late substitutions will be processed on-site and a $25 processing fee will apply.

How do I organize a Retail Team?

There is a special rate for NRF Retail Teams (Members only) and International Delegations attending the 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO. You must have 10 or more full paid registrations at the same time in order to qualify for this discount. For more information about teams or international delegations, please contact Susan Cuevas at 202-626-8161.

I need a receipt for my registration.

Upon completion of registration, an email confirmation is sent to the email address provided by the registrant. If you have not received an e-confirmation, please call 708-486-0725.

Where do I mail my registration form?

Please mail your registration for – with payment – to NRF 12, PO Box 506, Brookfield, IL 60513-0506. FAX: 708-344-4444 QUESTIONS? CALL: 708-486-0725.

I lost my badge, what do I do?

Lost or stolen badges are subject to a $100 replacement fee. You can procure a new badge at Onsite Registration in the Crystal Palace of the Convention Center. Replacement fees are nonrefundable.

Press Questions


NRF welcomes analysts and members of the working, editorial press to cover its conferences and exhibitions. Due to the increasing number of media and analysts attending our conferences, we have established the following policy for granting complimentary registration.

To receive a complimentary pass for Retail’s BIG Show, you must register here. In some cases, we may ask you to submit credentials after we have received your registration request. If we request to see your credentials, your complimentary pass will not be issued until credentials are submitted and approved.

How do I know if I qualify for a media/analyst pass?
Please review NRF’s media/analyst accreditation policy (listed below) to determine your eligibility. If you are unsure if you qualify, you may also contact Kara Goehring at 202-661-3055. A copy of the policy is available in Portuguese, here (PDF). If you require the policy in another language, please contact Kara Goehring.

Media/analyst accreditation policy
If we request to see credentials, please submit one or more of the items listed below. Your complimentary pass will not be issued without credentials.

Print Media

  • Masthead from a current issue of an industry-related publication listing you as the writer, reporter or editor.
  • Two industry-related articles published within the past six months with your byline.
  • NRF does not allow publishers to attend as a member of the press. All publishers who wish to attend will need to purchase a conference pass.
  • Newsletters will not be considered for media accreditation.

Industry Analysts

  • Content from a recently-published industry-related article that contains your byline.
  • Cover of a market research report from the past six months listing you as a contributor with your name, title and company name. Reports must be made independently and not solicited by exhibiting companies.
  • It is NRF’s policy that only three analysts from the same company will be allowed complimentary registration. After receiving three complimentary passes, additional analysts from the same company must pay to register.

Broadcast Media

  • Press photo ID.
  • Business card from your media outlet reflecting your current title as reporter, producer or photographer/cameraman. All national and local media outlets are welcome, but we encourage registrants to call ahead to make sure you have information about which sessions allow video recording.

Online Media

  • URL and masthead from a current online industry-related publication listing you as an editorial contributor.
  • An industry-related article published within the past six months with your byline.
  • Content from YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, personal blogs, forums or users groups will not be considered as media credentials.

Any web publication or industry-related blog must be a previously established, independent site that is regularly updated with original and current media-related news.

Freelancers and Video Production Companies

  • An email/letter from the news director or assignment editor on station/network letterhead saying that you have been assigned to represent the organization in an editorial capacity at a specific NRF event and an article published within the past six months with your byline or a business card that reflects your editorial role.
  • Coverage must be done independently and not solicited by exhibiting companies.

Additional information about media accreditation:

NRF reserves the right to deny an applicant a press or industry analyst complimentary pass if sufficient credentials are not provided.

Accreditation will NOT be granted to: Publishers, general managers, account representatives, sales executives, engineers, public relations reps, etc.  

A history of being registered at previous NRF events does not guarantee approval or waive the accreditation requirement.

Exhibitor Press Kits 
View current and archived news from NRF’s 103rd Annual Convention and EXPO. 

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