Saturday, 16 September 2017 18:28

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Department of Revenue Executive Director Leon Biegalski issued an emergency order to extend certain filing due dates for Florida businesses registered with the Department in each of the 67 counties. Order of Emergency Waiver Number 17-235-DOR-003 changes the filing due date for sales and use tax, as well as fuel tax returns and payments to Sept. 29, 2017.

Sales and use tax, as well as fuel tax returns and payments are normally due on the 1st day of the month, and late after the 20th day of the month. For electronic filers, submissions initiated by 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 28 will be deemed timely filed.

The Department has implemented the filing date extensions pursuant to subsection 213.055(2), F.S., which authorizes the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue to carry out certain actions during a declared state of emergency. On Sept. 4, 2017, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order Number 17-235 declaring a state of emergency in response to the threat of Hurricane Irma.

The Department’s taxpayer services phone line is available at 800-352-3671 for taxpayers who have additional questions. Visit the Florida Sales and Use Tax webpage and the Florida Fuel Tax webpage for additional tax information. For more information or to sign up for email updates from the Department of Revenue, visitfloridarevenue.com.

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Monday, 11 September 2017 15:23

FRF/FPMA Members:

As IRMA exits Florida and continues to diminish, I hope that this email finds your and yours safe and secure. Many of you and your businesses have suffered significant loss and are facing a daunting path to recovery and return to operations. Please know that we are with you and we will work tirelessly to help facilitate a complete return to operation for your businesses. Floridians need you and we know that there are immediate challenges relating to reentry and restoration of power. FRF and FPMA team members remain embedded within the State Emergency Operations Center and we are working closely with all level of government to clear hurdles to safe, efficient return to operations.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Vice President & General Counsel, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Executive Director of FPMA, have maintained a near round the clock presence in the EOC and remain ready to assist you as needed. Samantha and Ned have been actively staffing the EOC for nearly a week and I can not thank them both for their commitment to our industry. From watching them in action I know that their efforts have contributed heavily to how well Florida has been prepared in terms of product and fuel supply. They will both continue to push out extensive updates regarding rule/statute waivers, local needs and other pressure points. Please take the time to review these communications as you receive them.

While I am proud of our team and our efforts, I am even more touched by the response of Florida's retailers. The retail community has been incredible in responding to the needs of Floridians and providing food and water, fuel, life saving medical supplies, construction/safety materials, safe harbor to pets and much, much more. I could not be more proud to be associated with such an impressive group of companies. Thank you for all you are doing to provide much needed products and services to your friends and neighbors.

While I know all of you are eager to reopen, please keep in mind that much of Florida still faces life safety dangers. We urge you to respect law enforcement officials as they complete search and rescue efforts and clear areas for reentry. If you have questions or concerns, let us know and we will work to facilitate solutions.

We are here to help....use us. In addition to Samantha and Ned, you can contact me at any time at 850.545.2673 (mobile) or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for all that you are doing. Following a dark storm, this will be retail's time to shine.....and shine we will!

Scott

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 14:11

Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency for Hurricane Irma (link to Executive Order). The path of the storm is not clear at this point, but the potential for serious impact to Florida is significant. The time to prepare is NOW. We encourage you to consider the following as you prepare your businesses and your homes for this event:

Please visit www.floridadisaster.org for information and guidance regarding preparation and response, forecasts, and other resources from Florida’s State Emergency Response Team. The declaration includes the entire state, which means emergency pricing regulations are in effect for the entire state. This means that the state will be monitoring how necessary commodities are being priced throughout the emergency.

In the event of impact to an area, re-entry to the area may be restricted. You and your employees will need government issue ID, proof of employment, and a letter of authorization demonstrating the need for re-entry in order to re-enter. Local law enforcement exercises the authority to decide who can re-enter and when. Please call or email Samantha Padgett at 850-528-5006 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if we can assist you throughout this event. If you have questions related specifically to fuel, please contact Ned Bowman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Monday, 07 August 2017 14:50

IImagine going to the grocery store for dinner, not to pick up a rotisserie chicken to take home, but to actually eat at the store. As online grocery shopping grows, many supermarkets are adding sit-down restaurants in a move to attract more millennials. And it seems to be working.

This valued event brings together the leaders of Georgia’s retail industries along with Georgia legislators to discuss the future of retail as well as laying the foundation for GRA’s legislative and membership priorities for 2018.

Kyle Riggs, who manages Market Grille, the restaurant at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Columbia, Mo., says most people don't expect to find this level of food service next to the produce aisle.

"And then when they walk in here, they're just amazed at the full wine wall with the ladder that slides," he says. "We have 20 beers on tap and a lot of high-end alcohol, whiskeys and things like that, and great food."

The ingredients come from the store. They are cooked in the store's kitchen and served here. Riggs says football games can pack the 148-seat restaurant with college students and young professionals.

Indeed, Rob Hunt, 30, and Aaron Hadlow, 28, have been stopping by all summer for happy hour after work. Hunt says the variety of food, the local, craft beer on tap and ultimately the price are a big draw.

"You can't get $2 pints of beer anywhere else and that's honestly the biggest thing," he says. "We tried a couple of other places this summer and they were fun, but it's just cheaper over here."

Across the country, supermarkets like Whole Foods have been offering sit-down dining and drink deals for years. The trend of adding full restaurants, sometimes called "groceraunts," falls in line with the uptick in prepared store meals, which has grown 30 percent since 2008 and driven $10 billion in sales last year, according to the NPD group.

Hy-Vee, which was one of the early adopters of the groceraunt model, has added 115 Market Grilles to date.

While grocery stores had been losing customers in recent years to smaller markets and online food shopping, groceraunts have helped bring back foot traffic to the old-school grocers.

"It's really made a big difference for us in the evening," says Jeremy Gosch, executive vice president strategy and chief merchandising officer, at Hy-Vee, Inc. "That's where most traditional grocery store food service had oppurtunity."

Gosch says creating an in-house restaurant, different ambiance and different lighting were important to draw in diners. "I think we're capturing business that we didn't have before in our food service department," he says.

While people are looking for more options in prepared foods, the traditional center of the store, with cans of beans and boxes of cereal, has had to make room. That means space on the shelf is becoming more competitive.

"As ... we continue to roll out into existing stores some food service updates and expansion, especially on meals to go for consumption at home, I think you'll see a little bit of that compression," Gosch says. That could mean a future with only one size and brand of canned tomatoes on the shelf.

A large part of this shift is thanks to millennials, like Hunt and Hadlow, who are more likely to dine out than older generations. More than half of millennials surveyed by financial services firm Morgan Stanley said they had eaten out in the past week, compared to 43 percent of previous generations.

Today, groceraunts are featuring seasonal menus and hiring graduates of the Culinary Institute of America as chefs. Food industry analyst Phil Lempert says this appeals to millennials, too.

"What these groceraunts can do is give them a convenient location where they can meet their friends, where they can have great food, and have it at a great value," he says. "That becomes a terrific formula to attract this generation."

Millennials are also turning away from slumping restaurant chains, like Chili's or Applebee's, which plans to close up to 60 locations this year.

That's forcing some restaurant chains to look toward grocery stores as potential partners. Think of Starbucks and Caribou coffee kiosks in grocery stores, except in this case, Wolfgang Puck wants his cafe to become the in-house restaurant, says Lempert.

"Now these restaurateurs want their space in the supermarket as well, because they know that it's more convenient for people, it's more of a one-stop-shop, and it's hurting their traditional restaurants," he says.

The next step for grocery stores may be to add home meal-delivery options, Lempert says, as digital orders ramp up with tech-savvy, young adults. Market analysts are looking at the Amazon-Whole Foods merger and expect both more restaurants to be added to grocery stores, and more people to order their groceries and dinner together online.

"This is a trend that's going to continue to grow," Lemeprt says. "Grocers are putting more money and more effort in this. They see it as their culinary mark, if you would, on society. So this is here to stay."

Monday, 31 July 2017 09:12

For Immediate Release: July 31, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

1st Annual Best Bagger Competition winner was Kelina Salinas from Lucky’s Market, who received a $1,000 cash prize and all-expense paid trip to February’s national championship

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Grocers Association (FGA), a division of the Florida Retail Federation, hosted an event to identify Florida’s best bagger of groceries among Sunshine State grocery industry employees. The 1st Annual Florida Best Bagger Competition took place Sunday, July 23 during the 2017 Sunshine EXPO®, one of the largest retailing events in the Southeast, with contestants representing a number of grocery stores throughout Florida. The winner of this inaugural contest was Kelina Salinas from Lucky’s Market. In addition to taking home “bagging rights” for the year, Kelina also won the $1,000 grand prize along with an all-expense paid trip to represent Florida and compete for a $10,000 grand prize at the National Grocers Association National Best Bagger Championship held in February 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We were thrilled with the interest and participation from our grocery members for our first ever Best Bagger Competition as well as the excitement of the audience during the event,” said FGA Executive Director Josie Correa. “I want to congratulate all of the contestants for participating in this inaugural event, and we look forward to supporting Kelina and cheering her on as she represents the State of Florida at the national championships in February.”

The runner-up bagger, Josue Anelus from Publix, received $500 while the third place contestant, J.P. Paiva also from Publix, won $250.

The Florida Best Bagger Competition was for supermarket employees demonstrating a superior core customer service skill in a friendly competition. Contestants were judged by speed of bagging, proper bag-building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance. All stores were encouraged to do their own in-store competition and then send their best bagger to the Florida competition. Family, friends, cheer teams and fellow workers were in attendance to cheer on their favorite contestant.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA GROCERS ASSOCIATION
The Florida Grocers Association, a division of the Florida Retail Federation, was launched in 2015 to provide a voice and identity to the state’s $45 billion grocery industry. FGA’s goal is to advocate for its members at the local, state and national level while serving the needs of the more than 2,300 grocery stores and their industry partners statewide. For more information about the Florida Grocers Association, please visit flgrocers.com.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017 09:01

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Popular annual shopping holiday takes place August 4-6; Eligible technology items up to $750 are tax free meaning significant savings for Florida families

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, is reminding Floridians and retailers of the upcoming back-to-school sales tax holiday weekend, taking place August 4-6. Serving as the state’s 2nd busiest shopping “holiday,” the weekend is expected to bring in near record-breaking sales, while Floridians are able to stretch their hard-earned dollars further and employees benefit from additional jobs and wages. Additionally, this year’s holiday sees the return of eligible technology items up to $750 tax free, which means substantial savings for Florida families.

“We are looking forward to another successful Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, and applaud Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the significance it has on our hard-working families and the 270,000 retailers throughout the State of Florida,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Each year, shoppers show up in record numbers and provide a tremendous economic boost overall to retailers’ sales numbers while they are able to afford more of the supplies they need.”

Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $687.72 on apparel and accessories, shoes and school supplies, up eight percent from 2016, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $83.6 billion, a more than 10 percent increase from last year’s $75.8 billion.

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $687.72 each, for a total of $29.5 billion, an 8 percent increase from last year’s $27.3 billion. Total spending is the second-highest in the history of the survey following a peak of $30.3 billion in 2012.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend $10.2 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent of respondents), $8.8 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (60 percent), $5.6 billion on shoes (93 percent) and $4.9 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (97 percent). Parents say they will spend an average of $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes and $114.12 on school supplies. While consumers plan to spend more across all categories, shoes and school supplies seeing the highest expected increase.

For the first time, the survey asked consumers what types of electronics they plan to purchase. Among electronics shoppers, 45 percent said they would buy a laptop computer while more than a third plan to purchase a tablet (35 percent) or a calculator (35 percent). One in four plan to purchase electronic accessories such as a mouse, flash drive or charger.

According to the survey, 65 percent of back-to-school shoppers say half or more of their purchases are a direct result of their children’s influence, up from 57 percent last year. And while children’s influence is growing, so too is their willingness to help their parents pay the bill: teenagers will contribute $37.64, up from last year’s $32.90, and pre-teens will contribute $27.09, up from last years $20.08.

More families will tackle their back-to-school lists early this year with 27 percent beginning two months before the beginning of school, up from 22 percent last year. But not all shoppers are early birds, 21 percent will wait until the last week or two before school starts, about the same as last year’s 22 percent. Of those shopping early, 60 percent say they are trying to spread out their budgets, 48 percent don’t want to miss out on sales and 43 percent want to avoid crowds.

When it comes to where parents will buy, they are shopping across a variety of retailers; 57 percent will shop at department stores, 54 percent at discount stores, 46 percent each at clothing stores and online, and 36 percent at office supply stores. For those shopping online, 91 percent plan to take advantage of free shipping and 54 percent will buy online and pick up in-store.

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 16 out of the 20 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 8th year in a row it has taken place. For the complete list of eligible tax-free items, see 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.

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Thursday, 06 July 2017 13:39

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Business owner Mallea is the choice in House District 116 for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC, the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, today announced its endorsement of Jose Mallea for the Florida House. Mallea, a Republican, is running for election in House District 116 in South Florida. “As a brewer, accomplished small business owner, and someone who has signed the front of a paycheck, Jose is familiar with the changes that need to be made in order to strengthen and enhance Florida’s business community,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We’re eager to see the impact Jose will make as the representative of House District 116, as we work with him on supporting Sunshine State businesses and retailers.” A native of Miami, Mallea is an accomplished business owner and job creator. Jose previously served in the George W. Bush White House and managed Marco Rubio’s first U.S. Senate campaign.

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, 06 July 2017 10:59

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Local business leader Newstreet is the choice in House District 44 for Florida’s premier retail industry association representing one of Florida’s largest employment industries

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC, the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, today announced its endorsement of John Newstreet for the Florida House. Newstreet, a Republican, is running for election in House District 44 in Central Florida.

“As the president of a local chamber and a business leader, John is familiar with the importance of supporting local businesses and ensuring they have the ability, resources and support to grow and succeed,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We’re confident John will take this business-friendly focus with him as the new representative for House District 44 and we look forward to the opportunity to work with him in support of our members.”

John currently serves as the President/CEO of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce. John served in the U.S. Coast Guard, graduated from the University of Central Florida and worked as a financial planner before being called back into service as the Florida director of the American Legion. His work for veterans later earned him a job with then U.S. Senators Mel Martinez and Marco Rubio. John’s charitable and community work includes Boy Scouts of America, Give Kids the World, county emergency operations, and several others.

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.

Thursday, 06 July 2017 10:13

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

City of Aventura Police Department’s Marquez selected as the 2017 FRF Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Joseph LeSerra of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office selected as Runner-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, announced today the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Detective Sandra Marquez of the City of Aventura Police Department was selected as the 2017 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runner-Up was Detective Joseph LeSerra of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Both are being recognized, in part, for their work in preventing organized retail crime, and will be honored at a prestigious law enforcement awards dinner on Thursday, July 20, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee in conjunction with the 2017 Loss Prevention Conference.

“The men and women of Florida’s law enforcement community put their lives on the line each day to keep Florida’s 270,000 retailers, their employees, customers and merchandise safe,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We are thankful for their dedicated service to protecting all of us, and we are honored to be able to recognize both Detective Marquez and Detective LaSerra on behalf of the thousands of law enforcement professionals throughout our state.”

Detective Marquez will receive a cash award 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. Two officers were selected to receive Honorable Mentions and will be recognized locally. They are: Detective Lazaro Daniel of the Miami-Dade Police Department and Detective Ismael Hau of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

2017 WINNER: DETECTIVE SANDRA MARQUEZ Detective Marquez is a 10-year veteran of law enforcement and the Aventura Police Department. She has been instrumental in the success of their new economic crimes unit and having a positive impact on retail crimes and fraud investigations. Case examples during this year’s award period include: a self-initiated fraud investigation in which she worked with a regional loss prevention investigator to identify several store employees who were working to commit credit card fraud; used various techniques to identify a restaurant employee who was skimming customers’ credit cards; identified a multi-jurisdictional email phishing wire fraud ring that so far has uncovered more than $3 million in fraudulent wire transactions spanning multiple states; and an identity theft case involving medical benefits.

RUNNER-UP: DETECTIVE JOSEPH LESERRA Detective LeSerra is a senior detective in the Financial Crimes Unit, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and a Task Force Officer with the United States Internal Revenue Service. To date, Detective LeSerra is responsible for arresting various individuals who have cost their victims over one million dollars during the current award year and that number is still growing. He helped crack a Racketeering, Money Laundering and Organized Scheme to Defraud, Illegal Gambling and Illegal Lottery case that led to the discovery of public assistance fraud. The investigation resulted in over 130 defendants who were issued warrants in this case including the seizure of three trucks, more than 100 illegal gambling machines and approximately $270,000 in funds. Other cases included a prostitute who was extorting more than $400,000 from a victim, and a caretaker who was stealing funds from her elderly client. Volunteering in his community, Detective LeSerra coaches a youth flag football team and last year was team captain of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office American Heart Campaign.

The Law Enforcement of the Year Award Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2017 FRF Loss Prevention Conference taking place July 21. This annual event attracts close to 200 of the state’s loss prevention and law enforcement professionals gathered to learn the latest news, trends and technology to help them keep their businesses, employees and their customers safe. Both events are important parts of the 2017 Sunshine EXPO® taking place July 20-23, which also includes the popular EXPO Tradeshow, featuring 2,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors on July 23, as well as a full day of Education Sessions taking place July 22.

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. For more information on the award winners, the event or the LEOY program, visit LEOY section of the FRF website.

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, 05 July 2017 11:13

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Business-friendly Diaz is the choice in Senate District 40 for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC, the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, today announced its endorsement of Jose Felix Diaz for the Florida Senate. Diaz, a Republican, is running for election in Senate District 40 in South Florida.

“Jose has been an advocate for business and retailing during his time in the House, including supporting legislation that created $500 million in tax relief, and the removal of burdensome regulations on small businesses,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We’re confident his support will continue when he’s elected to represent Senate District 40, and we look forward to working with him on future legislation that supports Florida’s 270,000 retailers.”

A native of Miami, Diaz recently served as the representative for House District 116. Jose developed his love for public service as student body president of his high school and college. While at the University of Miami, Jose was selected as Florida's College Student of the Year. Soon thereafter, Jose went on to Columbia Law School where he received several notable distinctions including the American Bar Association’s Silver Key. Upon graduation, he returned to Miami to join the law firm of Akerman LLP, and was appointed to the American Bar Association's legislative body, the House of Delegates.

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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