Thursday, 09 April 2020 11:35

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2020
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Florida Governor Signs HB 7097 to Renew Back-to-School & Hurricane Preparedness Tax-Free Holidays

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 7097 into law today, which renews sales tax holidays for Florida consumers in preparation for back-to-school items and hurricane season supplies.

"These programs are needed now more than ever," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "Not only do these important tax-free holidays provide relief to consumers buying necessities, but they will inject a shot of adrenaline into Florida's retail businesses after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic and forced closures. Thank you to the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis for delivering this tax relief."

The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday will run the weekend of May 29 through June 4. Floridians will find these hurricane preparation supplies to be tax-free:

  • Portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less;
  • Certain portable radios selling for $50 or less;
  • Tarps selling for $50 or less;
  • Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits selling for $50 or less;
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less;
  • Packages of certain battery types, selling for $30 or less;
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less;
  • Portable generators for use in a power outage selling for $750 or less; and
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled from August 7 through 9. Florida families will be eligible to purchase clothing and school supplies without paying sales tax. School-related items include:

  • Clothing and shoes, priced $60 or less per item;
  • Backpacks, handbags and wallets, priced $60 or less per item;
  • School supplies, priced $15 or less per item; and
  • Personal computers or personal computer-related accessories, up to $1,000 per item will be tax-free.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:31

Tallahassee, FL – Just hours after the Florida Legislature passed HB 389, which expands pharmacists’ ability to quickly diagnose and treat Florida patients with influenza and strep, along with minor, nonchronic health conditions such as ringworm and lice, the Governor signed the measure into law.

“On behalf of pharmacies that provide essential services to Florida families throughout our state, we are grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for supporting this important bill,” said Scott Shalley, Florida Retail President & CEO. “With the ability for pharmacists to provide immediate testing and treatment for flu and strep, patients in Florida can learn their diagnosis, access treatment and find relief faster.”

HB 389 was passed earlier today by both the Florida House and the Florida Senate. It was sent immediately to the Governor, and he signed it into law. The bill goes into effect on July 1.

Last year in the United States, 42 million people were sick with the flu in the, and more than 61,000 of those died. Making sure all Florida residents have access to flu testing and treatment quickly is critical to save lives.

Currently, 17 other states already allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu. The House bill requires pharmacists to have a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician and undergo additional training to be able to diagnose and treat the medical conditions listed.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Wednesday, 29 January 2020 08:44

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2020
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) shared the latest consumer spending data from an annual Super Bowl survey, forecasting this year to be the strongest one yet.

No need to call an audible on Super Bowl sales for Florida retailers. Those watching the event expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, per person, for a total $17.2 billion nationwide.

Nearly 194 million adults are saying they have plans for the big game.

“Florida is proud to host this year's Super Bowl,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. “Whether you are planning to host a watch party or looking for gear to show your team spirit, get what you need at Florida's retailers."

Hundreds of thousands of out-of-state fans are expected to travel to South Florida to watch the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs compete for the Super Bowl title at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The Super Bowl consumer spending update by the Florida Retail Federation is informed by the data released by the National Retail Federation. For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/super-bowl.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

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Wednesday, 22 January 2020 08:21

SB 126 and HB 159 Modernize Florida Tax Law to Level the Playing Field for Florida Businesses

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
January 21, 2020
CONTACT:Amanda Bevis
(202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL –Senator Joe Gruters (R, Sarasota) and Representative Chuck Clemons (R, Perry) will join Florida retail business owners and business industry leaders on Wednesday, January 22, at 9:00 a.m., at a press conference to demand the Legislature act on SB 126 and HB 159 this session.

The event is part of an advocacy day organized by the Florida Retail Federation, during which Florida retail businesses will advocate for Florida businesses, Florida jobs and Florida families.

Currently, foreign companies are capitalizing on Florida’s outdated tax laws, and Florida retailers are competing with two hands tied behind their back. SB 126 and HB 159 will fix the problem, restore the free market and level the playing field for Florida businesses to compete.

WHO:
Senator Joe Gruters
Representative Chuck Clemons
Dominic Calabro, President and CEO, Florida TaxWatch
Jennifer Platt, Vice President for Federal Operations, ICSC
Shannon Collins, Badcock Home Furniture & more
David Hart, Executive Vice President of Government & Political Relations, Florida Chamber
Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, AIF
Scott Shalley, President and CEO, Florida Retail Federation

WHAT:
Press Conference on SB 126 and HB 159

WHEN:
Wednesday, January 22
9:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Senate Chamber - 4th Floor
Florida State Capitol
Tallahassee, FL

A BOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $52 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Monday, 09 December 2019 09:43

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2019
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) today launched its “Fairness for Florida” website (fairnessforflorida.com) in support of legislation that will restore the free market and level the playing field for Florida businesses.

Currently, foreign and out-of-state businesses avoid collecting and remitting sales tax to Florida on purchases made by Floridians, putting businesses in Florida at a severe disadvantage. Florida is one of only two states that has not yet modernized its tax system to reflect the changing environment.

“Foreign companies are luring Florida consumers by advertising cheaper prices that don’t account for taxes owed,” said Scott Shalley, President & CEO of the FRF. “This scheme is putting Florida retailers out of business and taking away jobs for Florida families.”

SB 126, sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, and HB 159, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Clemons, can fix this problem. This legislation will level the playing field and restore the free market by enforcing the law that businesses must pay these taxes.

“Florida retailers provide jobs for Florida families, support their local communities, and pay state and local taxes,” said Sen. Gruters. “We must ensure that our businesses are able to compete globally and are not hindered by outdated regulations here at home.”

There are more than 270,000 retailers in Florida, and these businesses provide more than 2.7 million jobs for Florida families. It is estimated that one in five jobs in Florida are tied to the retail industry “Florida retailers are competing with one hand tied behind their back,” said Rep. Clemons. “We must restore the free market.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Monday, 09 December 2019 08:29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 6, 2019
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Toy Safety Checklist Includes Checking Age Range on Toys and Assembling Parts Before the Fun Begins

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) wants to help Florida families stay safe this holiday season, and there are steps consumers can take to ensure the safety of gifts they purchase for family and friends, especially young children.

“Finding the perfect gift can be a challenge. We want to make sure shoppers find gifts that are both fun and safe for the children on their list this holiday season,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. “Our Toy Safety Checklist is a simple way that parents, grandparents and other gift givers can select and give gifts that are safe and age-appropriate.”

The FRF’s Toy Safety Checklist includes:

  1. Buy toys from reputable retail stores or websites
  2. Check the age range to make sure the toy is suitable for the child in mind and avoid toys with small parts when shopping for children under age three
  3. Inspect toys for loose hair and small parts, sharp edges and points
  4. Carefully read instructions and warnings provided with toys
  5. Assemble and inspect toys before giving them to children

In 2017, there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Of the 251,700 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, an estimated 184,000 (73%) occurred involving children younger than 15 years of age and an estimated 89,800 (36%) occurred involving children younger than five years of age.

For more insights on how to safely shop toys this holiday season, visit: playsafe.org

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019 08:21

October 24, 2019
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

ORLANDO, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) recognized Detective Andrew Goodlet of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office last night as the 2019 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year at the FRF's annual awards dinner. Detective Goodlet’s investigation into thefts at a national retailer revealed an organized retail crime ring responsible for $2.2 million in theft.

“Florida’s retailers are proud to honor Detective Goodlet for his selfless service and commitment to keep Florida families and Florida businesses safe,” said Casey Cesnovar, Chairman of the Board at the Florida Retail Federation, and Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs at Walgreens. “Thanks to Detective Goodlet, Florida families can feel safe when shopping, and Florida’s favorite stores can focus on continuing to provide great products, quality service and good prices.”

Detective Goodlet is a member of the Organized Retail Crime Unit in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Described as the “go-to” member of his unit, Detective Goodlet was nominated by Lieutenant Billy Strickland of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Goodlet was one of many law enforcement officers honored during the annual event. FRF also recognized the 2019 runner-up, Agent Justin Wood of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. Detective Rhett Campbell of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Miguel Garcia of the Miami-Dade Police Department and Officer Jason Richmond of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received Honorable Mentions.

“Florida’s law enforcement officers are an important partner of Florida retailers in preventing crime and holding criminals accountable,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. “It’s because of their commitment and sacrifice that Florida’s crime rate is at a 48-year low. We are proud to honor the men and women in blue.”

Since 1974, the FRF has cherished the tradition of celebrating Florida’s outstanding law enforcement community for their dedication keeping Florida residents safe. This year the selection committee for the FRF awards program received dozens of worthy nominations with endless accounts of heroism and selflessness in the line of duty.

The FRF also recognized the officers who were killed in the line of duty during the last year.

“Florida’s law enforcement officers chose a career of running into danger when others run away,” said Shalley. “And some of them make the ultimate sacrifice for our safety. We want to make sure they are properly recognized… and never forgotten.” The FRF presented a $1,000 donation to the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) Memorial Foundation to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The F.O.P. Memorial Foundation’s Annual Memorial Service in Tallahassee commemorates the Florida Law Enforcement Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The names of fallen heroes are added to the memorial each year.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2019 11:48

The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1st

With the official start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the staff of the Florida Retail Federation is once again ready to assist our members with preparation, response and recovery. Below are some points of contact and useful information.

PREPARE

RESPONSE/RECOVERY

  • If a storm impacts Florida, the staff of the Florida Retail Federation will maintain a presence at the state’s Emergency Operations Center. The main point of contact for FRF will be our General Counsel and VP, Lorena Holley. She can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone or text at 850-443-1173.
  • Re-Entry Requirements: If a storm impacts Florida, one of our primary goals is to assist with the rapid restoration of local businesses. We will work with local officials and law enforcement to assist our members with re-entry to affected areas.
  • Florida’s Statewide Private Sector Re-Entry Requirements remain unchanged and are as follows:
    • Individuals and businesses seeking to provide essential commodities and services to impacted areas will be allowed re-entry by possessing and presenting to local officials:
    • A valid government-issued ID, such as a Driver’s License or passport
    • Proof of Employment, such as Employer credential or a letter on employer letterhead; and
    • A demonstrated need to enter the area, such as a work order, inventory list, or employer authorization.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out for additional help and/or information.
Thursday, 15 August 2019 12:11

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Decisive victory affirms validity of state preemption, and the City of Coral Gables is immediately prohibited from enforcing its invalid regulations

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association supporting Florida’s retail industry for more than 80 years, applauds today’s ruling by Miami’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. A victory for FRF and its members, the Court struck down the City of Coral Gables’ effort to circumvent state law and restrict use of all polystyrene products in the City.

“We commend the court as this decision reinforces the legislature’s ability and authority to govern these issues on a statewide basis,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. “This decision helps ensure Florida remains a business-friendly state by avoiding a patchwork of regulations by the more than 400 local governments. I also want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their partnership and support in joining this successful lawsuit.”

“We look forward to a continued statewide dialogue on these important issues. Florida’s retailers have a vested interest in a healthy and sustainable Florida,” continued Shalley. “Our retailers spend millions of dollars every year on identifying ways to reduce our collective ecological footprint. We will continue to focus on solutions that are based on science and the importance of responsible consumer education and behavior.”

The City of Coral Gables, in a series of 2016 overreaching regulations, tried to prohibit the use of polystyrene products by city retailers altogether. The City went so far as passing a local ordinance declaring 500.90 F.S. “unconstitutional.” The Florida Retail Federation, its local City of Coral Gables member Super Progresso, Inc., and the Attorney General’s Office defended the validity of the state preemption statutes. State laws supported by the Florida Retail Federation have long preempted regulation of polystyrene packaging materials to the state legislature, and the 3rd District Court ruled all of Coral Gables’ local regulations in derogation of state law are invalid.

Accordingly, any local regulations of styrofoam or other packaging materials, such as plastic bags, adopted by other Florida municipalities after January 1, 2016, are invalid as they violate state laws. FRF members and local retailers are now protected from post-2016 regulation by aggressive municipalities or counties as a result of FRF’s advocacy efforts. FRF was represented by Dexter Lehtinen, Esq. and Claudio Riedi, Esq. of Lehtinen Schultz, PLLC, in Miami.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019 10:55

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The Sunshine State’s annual tax-free shopping holiday is extended to five days this year; Technology items up to $1,000 are included, and consumers of ALL ages can save money by taking advantage of buying thousands of eligible items

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is encouraging consumers and retailers to prepare for the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. This popular annual “holiday” takes place August 2-6. During this time, consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes, school supplies and the return of technology items. The sales tax holiday also benefits Sunshine State retailers who see increased sales and as a result, create new jobs for hard working Florida families.

“We are excited to support this generous five-day tax free holiday. This annual event provides Floridians with much needed tax relief while providing a nice boost to our local retailers,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We commend Governor DeSantis and our legislative leaders for their support of Florida’s families.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes technology items up to $1,000 (not included in 2018), clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family shopping for K-12 students is expected to be $696.70, the highest in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Total spending nationally is expected to be slightly lower than last year, due to fewer families with students in grades K-12, totaling $26.2 billion, down from $27.5 billion.

Families with college students are expected to spend an average of $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

Total spending nationally for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). In addition, shoppers also plan to spend:

  • $203.44 on electronics such as computers, calculators and phones
  • $135.96 on shoes
  • $117.49 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes.

K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53 percent), discount stores (50 percent), online (49 percent), clothing stores (45 percent) and office supply stores (31 percent).

Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 from 10 years ago.

College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by:

  • $148.54 on clothing and accessories
  • $120.19 on dorm and apartment furnishings
  • $98.72 on food items ($98.72)

They plan to do most of their shopping online (45 percent), followed by department stores (39 percent), discount stores (36 percent), college bookstores (32 percent) and office supply stores (29 percent).

“Consumers desire the ability to shop in different ways and at different times, and retailers have responded by providing innovative shopping options for them to choose from,” said Shalley. “We’re proud of the many technological advancements our retail members have made that ensure everyone’s shopping experience is fun, safe and easy.”

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 18 out of the 22 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 10th year in a row it has taken place.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please review the Department of Revenue's complete Tax Information Publication (TIP), as well as their Frequently Asked Questions. For your convenience, on their website, they've also provided digital downloads and social media posts for businesses interested in promoting and sharing information about the sales tax holiday.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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