Retailers need to challenge the US government’s perspective of the industry, the president of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay said today.

Speaking at the NRF conference in New York, Shay said that 42 million jobs, or one in four, depend on the industry in the US.

He said: “The perception, particularly in Washington is often that retail is a low wage low tech industry. If that continues our leaders won’t treat our issues as high priorities.”

He said the US government needs to reduce corporate tax rates, develop new trade partnerships with other countries, and make it easier for talented staff to enter the country.

The NRF has launched a campaign to challenge the perception of the industry, focusing on the opportunities it affords and its importance to the economy as a whole.

The federation is also extending its work beyond the US and has a launched a group for international retail chief executives.