Wednesday, 14 November 2018 11:49

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

FRF predicts a 4.5% increase in sales over 2017 due to low unemployment, high consumer confidence and record-breaking tourism

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for more than 80 years, is predicting a very bright sales season for Florida retailers and expecting holiday sales to increase 4.5 percent over 2017. This is due to numerous positive statewide economic indicators including the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade, strong consumer confidence, record-breaking tourism and more shoppers with more money to spend.

“Holiday shopping is vital to the success of Florida’s retail industry and we are excited about the continued growth in sales for 2018,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley. “Florida’s 270,000 retail establishments are encouraged by our robust economy and poised to offer great deals and an enhanced shopping experience. There has never been a better time to shop for family and friends.”

Consumers are expected to spend a record $1,007.24 on gifts this holiday season according to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation, which is up considerably over 2017’s total of $967, which was the previous record. Shoppers will spend in three main categories during the holidays:

  • Gifts – $637.67
  • Non-gift holiday items (food, decorations, flowers, etc.) – $215.04
  • Gifts for themselves – $154.53

Consumer spending accounts for 75 percent of Florida’s gross domestic product totaling $155 billion each year. In particular, the holiday shopping season accounts for 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales and steady year-over-year sales shows increasing economy stability. Florida’s retail industry totals more than 270,000 businesses which employ 2.7 million Floridians, and is responsible for one out of every five jobs.

Tourism continues to play a vital role in the success of Florida’s retail industry and this year’s record-breaking number of visitors will make a significant impact on the bottom line of retailers. FRF’s partners at VSIT Florida recently announced that more than 120 million tourists are expected in 2018, which means tens of millions of extra shoppers, almost all of whom leave the state with more than they brought, bringing even more buying power with them. Surveys consistently list shopping as one of the top activities on the agendas of Florida vacations. And in an effort to attract shoppers of all types, retailers will continue offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching options, hot-selling toys and free shipping.

“Florida’s tourism industry provides an enormous boost to our retailers and we celebrate the continued increase in visitors to the sunshine state,” said Shalley. “From mementos of their trip, to Florida-themed gifts, clothing and more, tourists play a key role in supporting our retail industry.”

Holiday shoppers are planning to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores: An equal number (55 percent) will shop online and in department stores while 51 percent will go to discount stores, 44 percent to grocery stores, 33 percent to clothing stores and 24 percent to electronics stores. The mix of channels was further evident with 50 percent of those shopping online saying they will pick up their purchases in-store. Of online shoppers who want the package to come to their home or office, 94 percent will take advantage of free shipping, 16 percent will choose expedited shipping and 11 percent will use same-day delivery.

Most holiday shoppers (60 percent) are waiting until at least November to begin browsing and buying items for the season. However, 21 percent planned to start in October and 18 percent said they began in September or earlier. Of the early shoppers, 61 percent said they were trying to spread out their budgets while 47 percent wanted to avoid the crowds and stress of last-minute shopping.

Sunshine State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 12th year in a row (requested by 60 percent of those surveyed), followed by clothing and accessories (53 percent), books/movies/music (37 percent), electronics (29 percent), home décor (23 percent), jewelry (22 percent), personal care or beauty items (19 percent), sporting goods (18 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Pomsies, Fur-Real Pets, the Fortnite Version of Monopoly, Hatchimals, perennial bestsellers like Barbies and LEGOS, Nerf toys, and anything that has a big brand name behind it, like Fortnite, "Harry Potter," or "Jurassic World.

One piece of advice to shoppers is if you see a good deal on an item early on in your shopping, make sure to buy it then as opposed to waiting and hoping for a better deal. Just as technology has made shoppers smarter and more savvy, it has also allowed retailers to better respond to demand by matching their inventory and not overstocking their merchandise. Speaking of early shopping, 40 percent of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Halloween to help spread out their spending with 29 percent completely done by Black Friday.

While sales and discounts remained the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer, cited by 71 percent, quality and selection of merchandise were the next-largest factor (cited by 60 percent), followed by free shipping (47 percent) and convenient location (45 percent).

One of the positive impacts of the holiday shopping season is the increase in employment. These jobs include workers stocking inventory, customer service, warehousing and even management. Nationally, the industry is seeking more than 650,000 seasonal employees. However, due to the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade, retailers may have a difficult time meeting their hiring goals, as the pool of eligible applicants shrinks and they compete with other businesses like hotels and restaurants who all compete for similar customer-service-based experience.

“We expect shoppers to continue to shop at brick-and-mortar retail stores, and these companies will need employees who can provide great customer service and create loyalty to their brand,” said Shalley. “If you’re a seasonal job seeker you are in a great position, as retailers and the hospitality industry will all be competing to hire you by offering perks like increased hours, gift cards, revenue sharing and focusing on the culture within their organization.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, 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. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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Monday, 29 October 2018 08:45

For Immediate Release: October 24, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

These new House candidates are diverse but focused on making Florida more business-friendly, and are the choices for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of a number of new Florida House candidates for open seats. These candidates include:

Wyman Duggan, HD15 Elizabeth Fetterhoff, HD26 David Smith, HD28
Anthony Sabatini, HD32 Brett Hage, HD33 Adrian Zika, HD37
Stockton Reeves, HD47 Ben Griffin, HD49 Tyler Sirois, HD51
Joe Wicker, HD59 Dianne Hart, HD61 Nick DiCeglie, HD66
Ray Blacklidge, HD69 Will Robinson, HD71 Ray Pilon, HD72
Tommy Gregory, HD73 Spencer Roach, HD79 Tina Polsky, HD81
Toby Overdorf, HD83 Mike Caruso, HD89 Chip LaMarca, HD93
Frank Mingo, HD103 Ana Maria Rodriguez, HD105 Rosa Mario Palomino, HD112
Vance Aloupis, HD115 Anthony Rodriguez, HD118  

“The diversity of these candidates includes some with a direct connection to retail, small business owners, and those new to holding public office, but all are focused on making Florida the most business-friendly state in the nation,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Meeting each of these candidates in person has us excited about working with them as members of the Florida House in support of the state’s retail industry.”

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 25 October 2018 09:50

For Immediate Release: October 25, 2018 CONTACT: James Miller
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Orlando Police Dept. Officer Rivera’s enforcement of retail and economic crime made her the choice as 2018 recipient; FDLE Special Agent Tatiana Miguel and US Secret Service Agent Logan Workman selected as Runners-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for more than 80 years, announced the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Detective Rebecca Rivera of the City of Orlando Police Department was selected as the 2018 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runners-Up were FDLE Special Agent Tatiana Miguel and United States Secret Service Agent Logan Workman. All were recognized, in part, for their work in preventing organized retail crime, and were honored at a prestigious law enforcement awards dinner held earlier this week.

“It’s impossible to truly show how much Florida’s retail industry values and appreciates our law enforcement officers, but we hope by highlighting the impact these worthy recipients have on our member businesses, their employees and their customers, is one small way we can show our appreciation,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We are extremely grateful to Officer Rivera and Special Agents Miguel and Workman for the sacrifice they make every single day, and we thank them for keeping us safe.”

Officer Rivera received a cash award, a number of gift cards from FRF member retailers and a custom-crafted medallion and plaque, in addition to her name being added to an official plaque that lists each LEOY recipient since the program’s inception in 1974.

2018 WINNER: OFFICER REBECCA RIVERA
Officer Rebecca Rivera is an 8-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department. In her time on the I-Drive bike squad, Officer Rivera has been instrumental in the squad’s proactive enforcement of retail and economic crime. She is recognized by her peers for her performance, initiative, and dedication to her work. Officer Rivera’s diligence, keen skills, investigative tenacity, and use of surveillance resulted in a significant increase in retail theft arrests. Officer Rivera routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist International Drive businesses in crime prevention, investigation, and the apprehension of criminals.

RUNNER-UP: SPECIAL AGENT TATIANA MIGUEL
Special Agent Miguel is a 15-year veteran of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and has been serving the State of Florida for 32 years. She is currently assigned to the Miami Regional Operations Center. Her past assignments with FDLE included economic crimes, internet crimes against children, domestic security, and public integrity. Special Agent Miguel has also served as an Organized Crime Intelligence Agent for the Palm Beach/ Broward/ Miami-Dade region.

Special Agent Miguel along with Special Agent Logan Workman were honored together for their work on "Operation Benefactor.” Together, their efforts led to the arrests of 14 individuals in a case with a financial impact of $2.5 million with ties to ongoing federal investigations totaling in excess of $20 million.

RUNNER-UP: SPECIAL AGENT LOGAN WORKMAN
Special Agent Workman is a 3-year veteran of the United States Secret Service assigned to the Miami Field Office and has been instrumental in a number of significant fraud investigations affecting retailers leading to numerous federal arrests and convictions.

ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM
The Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year program has been an annual event since its inception in 1974. The purpose of the program is to support and encourage outstanding law enforcement work throughout the state, and to recognize the important contributions made by Florida's law enforcement professionals, particularly as it relates to the retail industry. The program’s time-tested campaign theme, "Often taken for granted, they never stop serving ...because they care," remains as relevant today as when the LEOY was first introduced.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:04

For Immediate Release:October 16, 2018
CONTACT:James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Average consumer expected spending to be up over last year’s previous record-high, with 175 million Americans expected to participate & $9 billion spent overall; the Sunshine State’s new favorite candy is Snickers, followed by Skittles and Reese’s Cups

TALLAHASSEE, FL –The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for more than 80 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to be near record-highs with the average person spending more than $86, up slightly from last year. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $9 billion.

“With Florida’s economy surging and numerous statewide economic indicators remaining positive, we expect another strong year for spending on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and other themed purchases,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “This should mean another robust sales opportunity for retailers who market their goods and scare enough consumers into their stores.”

Additionally, the candy favorited most by Floridians changed this year with Snickers beating out last year’s winner Skittles followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, according to candystore.com. This year, more than 661,000 pounds of Snickers will be bought in Florida, including 579,000 pounds of Skittles and 214,000 pounds of Reese’s Cups. The top five favorite candies nationally are Skittles, M&Ms, Snickers, Reese’s Cups and Starburst

According to a recent survey done by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation, spending for Halloween is expected to reach $9 billion, the second highest in the survey’s 14-year history. The figure is relatively the same as last year’s previous record of $9.1 billion. Celebrants are planning to spend an average of $86.79, up from last year’s $86.13, with more than 175 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.2 billion on costumes (purchased by 68 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.7 billion on decorations (74 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (95 percent) and $400 million on greeting cards (35 percent).

Among Halloween celebrants, 70 percent plan to hand out candy, 50 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 45 percent will carve a pumpkin, 32 percent will throw or attend a party, 30 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 21 percent will visit a haunted house and 18 percent will dress pets in costumes.

Pet costumes continue to gain popularity, with nearly 20 percent of celebrants planning to dress their pets in costumes this year up from last year’s 16 percent.

When looking for inspiration for the perfect costume, 35 percent of consumers will look online, 29 percent will look in stores, 19 percent will ask friends and family, 19 percent will look to Pinterest and 16 percent will look to Facebook; 16 percent will be influenced by pop culture and 15 percent by YouTube.

For buying costumes and other Halloween supplies, 45 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores and 35 percent will go to a specialty Halloween store or costume store. In addition, 25 percent will visit department stores, 24 percent will buy online and 24 percent in grocery/supermarket stores.

Top Costumes for Kids
More than 3.8 million children plan to dress as their favorite princess character, 2.5 million as their favorite superhero, 2.2 million as Batman characters, 1.9 million as their favorite Star Wars characters, and another 1.9 million will dress as a witch.

Most Popular Costumes for Kids

  1. Princess 7.6%
  2. Superhero 4.9%
  3. Batman 4.3%
  4. Star Wars character 3.7%
  5. Witch 3.6%
  6. Spider-Man 3.5%
  7. Avengers character (except Spider-Man) 3.2%
  8. Ghost 2.9%
  9. Pirate 2.0%
  10. Frozen (Elsa, Anna) 1.7%

Top Costumes for Adults
Halloween continues to be popular for adults as well, with half of celebrants (48 percent) planning to dress in costume this year. More than 7.2 million adults plan to dress as a witch, 2.5 million as a vampire, 2.1 million as a zombie, 1.9 million as a pirate, 1.3 million as their favorite Avengers characters such as Iron Man or Black Panther.

Most Popular Costumes for Adults

  1. Witch 10.7%
  2. Vampire 3.7%
  3. Zombie 3.1%
  4. Pirate 2.9%
  5. Avengers character (except Spider-Man) 2.0%
  6. Batman 2.0%
  7. Star Wars character 1.9%
  8. Ghost 1.8%
  9. Super hero 1.8%
  10. Clown 1.6%
  11. Wonder Woman 1.5%

Top Costumes for Pets
Pet lovers will also be dressing up their cat or dog for Halloween. Eleven percent of pet lovers will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume, while 7 percent will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog, 5 percent as a bumble bee and 3 percent as the devil.

Most Popular Costumes for Pets

  1. Pumpkin 11.2%
  2. Hot dog 7.4%
  3. Bumble bee 4.9%
  4. Devil 3.2%
  5. Cat 3.1%
  6. Dog 3.1%
  7. Lion 2.9%
  8. Star Wars character 2.8%
  9. Super hero 2.7%
  10. Ghost 2.5%

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
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents 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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Monday, 15 October 2018 16:33

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

These House incumbents have been supportive of Florida retailers in the past, and are the choices for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of a number of House incumbents who have all supported Florida’s retail industry during their previous terms in the Florida House. These incumbents include:

Jayer Williamson, District 3 Mel Ponder, District 4 Jay Trumbull, District 6
Clay Yarborough, District 12 Jason Fischer, District 16 Cyndi Stevenson, District 17
Bobby Payne, District 19 Charles Clemons, District 21 Charlie Stone, District 22
Stan McClain, District 23 Paul Renner, District 24 Tom Leek, District 25
David Santiago, District 27 Bob Cortes, District 30 Jennifer Sullivan, District 31
Blaise Ingoglia, District 35 Amber Mariano, District 36 Danny Burgess, District 38
Josie Tomkow, District 39 Colleen Burton, District 40 Mike LaRosa, District 42
Bobby Olszewski, District 44 Rene Plasencia, District 50 Randy Fine, District 53
Cary Pigman, District 55 Lawrence McClure, District 58 Jackie Toledo, District 60
James Grant, District 64 Chris Sprowls, District 65 Chris Latvala, District 67
Ray Rodrigues, District 76 Dane Eagle, District 77 Heather Fitzenhagen, District 78
Byron Donalds, District 80 MaryLynn Magar, District 82 Rick Roth, District 85
Bob Rommel, District 106 Jose Oliva, District 110 Bryan Avila, District 111
Daniel Perez, District 116 Holly Raschein, District 120

“For our industry and our members to succeed, it’s important for us to have legislative partners who understand the value that retail brings to our state and have them work to pass legislation that supports the growth of Florida businesses,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “These House incumbents have been friends of retailing and we’re confident they will continue this support when they are re-elected.”

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018 16:12

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Caldwell supported Florida retailers during his time in the House including ways to balance industry needs with consumer issues, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of republican Matt Caldwell for Agriculture Commissioner.

“During his time in the Florida House, Matt consistently worked with Florida’s retail industry on ways to balance the needs of the business community with those of consumers, and as Agriculture Commissioner we know he’ll continue this partnership and help our industry grow,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “The Florida Retail Federation looks forward to working with Matt on eliminating unnecessary regulations that may hinder the success of business owners throughout the state and ensuring Florida remains a great state to do business.”

"I am grateful to have earned the endorsement of the Florida Retail Federation, the voice that represents a diverse business community in Florida,” said Caldwell. “As Florida's next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, I will work hand-in-hand with job creators to ensure Florida continues to be a business-friendly state with a bustling and growing economy.”

Caldwell is a 7th-generation Floridian who grew up in Lee County and was first elected to the Florida House in 2010. He served on several committees during his tenure in the House, including transportation, tax policy, redistricting, insurance, banking, and local & federal government affairs. He most recently chaired the Government Accountability Committee, which oversees subcommittees regarding natural resources and public lands, transportation and infrastructure, local, federal, and military issues, and oversight of government operations, such as pensions and elections.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 06 September 2018 15:27

For Immediate Release: September 6, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Tallahassee-based retailer and FRF board member Mergel selected as 2018 America’s Retail Champion of the Year by the National Retail Federation

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) today announced that one its board members Lisa Mergel, owner of Kanvas Beauty in Tallahassee, was named the 2018 America’s Retail Champion of the Year in a ceremony held last night in Washington D.C. Mergel was chosen from a group of finalists and received the prestigious award in front of hundreds during an event hosted by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation.

“We are extremely proud but not surprised that the winner came from Florida, and there’s no one more representative of the incredible and dedicated retail employees in our state than Lisa Mergel and Kanvas Beauty,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley (pictured left with Ms. Mergel at the NRF ceremony). “Lisa’s commitment to her community, her customers and her industry are just some of the reasons she was selected for this prestigious award and we’re honored to have her as a board member and a leader of Florida’s retail industry.”

Mergel is the owner of Kanvas Beauty, a boutique day spa and beauty products store in Tallahassee that she opened in 2007. The business has ten employees and offers an internship program for Florida State University students studying retail business and merchandising.

Mergel, who was recognized as FRF’s Florida Retailer of the Year in 2016 and is a member of the organization’s Beauty Industry Council, was selected from a group of five finalists who included Sean Brownlee of Ravenox, a rope manufacturer and retailer in Burlington, N.C.; Tom Largay of Old Port Cards in Portland, Maine; Nicole Panettieri of The Brass Owl boutique in New York City; and Linda Taylor of VK Electronics in McCook, Neb.

Mergel, a career-long retailer, began her career working for major retail brands in New York before moving to Florida and opening Kanvas which is a unique concept of a world class day spa and specialty boutique. Outside of work, Lisa volunteers her time at one of many local civic organizations and mentoring retail merchandising students from Florida State University.

The America’s Retail Champions program, now in its fifth year, honors retailers who make their mark on public policy debates affecting the industry. Over 40 retailers from across the nation ranging from online sellers to small and mid-size store owners were nominated by state retail associations and their peers based on engagement in public policy discussions at the local, state and national level.

Participants will meet with members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill today to discuss the retail industry’s public policy agenda and priorities.

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, 16 August 2018 09:19

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Small business owner and incumbent Gainer has been a friend of retailing during his time in the Senate, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of incumbent George Gainer for the Florida Senate. Gainer, a Republican, is running for Senate District 2 encompassing Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington, and part of Okaloosa counties.

“Senator Gainer’s knowledge of what it takes to run a small business as well as his support for retailers during his time in the Senate are just two reasons we’ve chosen to endorse his campaign,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We look forward to him continuing to work in support of Florida’s business community and the retail industry in his return to the Florida Senate.”

Gainer previously served as a Bay County commissioner, representing Tyndall AFB and other parts of southern Bay County, from 1968-1972 and again from 2002-2016. Senator Gainer was elected to the Florida Senate with no opposition in November 2016. In addition to his responsibilities in the Senate, Senator Gainer serves on various community boards and organizations.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:18

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Former Representative Hooper has focused on supporting legislation that created jobs and enhanced Florida’s economic climate, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of Ed Hooper for the Florida Senate. Hooper, a Republican and former member of the Florida House of Representatives, is running for Senate District 16 which covers Pinellas County and western Pasco County.

“As a member of the House, Representative Hooper supported legislation that enhanced Florida’s job creation efforts, including our retail industry,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “As a Senator, we know he’ll continue this effort and work towards ways to make Florida the best state for business.”

Hooper is a retired firefighter after serving for 28 years, a government and community relations consultant and a legislative and community leader. As a legislator, he’s focused on reducing taxes and ensuring Florida has the right economic environment for small businesses to flourish. As a State Representative, he was named Deputy Majority Whip, and has helped secure billions of dollars in tax relief for Florida’s working families.

His community involvement includes being a Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Board member, a founding member of the Florida Firefighter Caucus and has received awards from Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Florida Sheriffs Association and was named the Professional Firefighter of the Year by the Governor, State Fire Marshal and Florida Cabinet.

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, 25 July 2018 11:36

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Florida’s popular annual shopping holiday takes place August 3-5; Consumers of all ages can take advantage of buying thousands of eligible items tax free

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is reminding both retailers and consumers of the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday weekend, taking place August 3-5. During this “holiday,” consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes and school supplies. 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.

“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday remains as popular with retailers as consumers, and with the increased strength of Florida’s economy right now, we expect to see near-record sales this year,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We want to thank Governor Scott and our legislative leaders for including this holiday in the state budget once again, and we look forward to another successful shopping season with retailers piggybacking discounts on top of the tax-free spending and consumers taking advantage of these deals.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $684.79, down slightly from last year’s average of $687.72, but still totaling more than $27.5 billion nationally – the third highest total in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Those with young people heading to college as well as college and graduate students purchasing for themselves plan to spend an average of $942.17 each, down from $969.88 last year for a total of $55.3 billion nationally. That’s an all-time high in the history of the survey, up from last year’s previous record of $54.1 billion, due to more people shopping this season.

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

  • $187.10 on electronics such as computers, calculators or phones
  • • $138.66 on shoes • $122.13 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes

Unlike back-to-schoolers, college shoppers will spend the most on electronics ($229.21). Besides electronics, they also plan to spend:

  • $153.32 on clothing and accessories
  • $109.29 on dorm or apartment furnishings
  • $102.82 on food
  • $83.41 on shoes
  • $78.70 on personal care items such as skin and hair care
  • $69.46 on school supplies such as notebooks and backpacks
  • $62.61 on gift cards
  • $53.34 on collegiate branded gear

“This year’s expected spending continues a streak of more than 18 months of record or near-record spending on shopping holidays,” said Shalley. “This shows how strong the overall health of our retail industry is, as well as how vital it is to the economic strength of our state and nation as a whole.”

The top destinations for consumers shopping for back-to-school items are:

  • Department stores (57 percent)
  • Online retailers (55 percent)
  • Discount stores (52 percent)
  • Clothing stores (51 percent)
  • Office supply stores (35 percent)

Similarly, the most popular shopping destinations for back-to-college consumers are:

  • Online retailers (49 percent)
  • Department stores (40 percent)
  • Discount stores (35 percent)
  • Office supply stores (31 percent)
  • College bookstores (30 percent)

The survey also found that more consumers are starting early. Most back-to-school shoppers (77 percent) plan to start at least three weeks before school begins, up from last year’s 74 percent and 64 percent a decade ago. Moreover, 67 percent of college shoppers will start that early, the same as last year but up from 51 percent in 2008. However, there is still plenty of shopping left to do. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) back-to-school and college shoppers still have half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of these, more than half are still waiting for the best deals for the items on their lists.

The survey found teenagers will spend $35.60 of their own money on average for back-to-school while pre-teens will spend $25.06.

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 17 out of the 21 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 9th year in a row it has taken place. For the complete list of eligible tax-free items, see www.floridarevenue.com.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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