The BHF announced this morning that it is to merge with the British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA), hot on the heels of the news that BHETA is to merge with the BJGF.
The merger, which will take total membership to more than 8,000 independent retailers across the entire retail sector, is "a bold move and one that makes absolute business sense particularly in the current economic climate," said BHF group md Alan Hawkins. "It will lead to some significant savings in overheads and to greater efficiencies."
In a statement released this morning, the associations said it was 'probable' that both would retain their current head offices, and that the deal would be completed by the end of 2009 at the latest.
"This is no time to stand alone," said Mr Hawkins. "The opportunities of a merger ensure not only our long-term survival but, far more importantly, enhance the service we can provide to members in the future."