Monday, 12 June 2017 11:56

Father's Day Spending to Reach Record High

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For Immediate Release: June 13, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Dads to get showered with gifts in record-setting fashion this year; Meals, clothing, gift cards, electronics and personal care items top the list of popular options

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retail industry, says Florida families will spend more than ever on Father’s Day this year. Consumers are expected to spend an average $134.75 for the holiday, up almost $10 from last year’s $125.92. Total spending nationwide is expected to reach $15.5 billion, the highest in the survey’s 15-year history and almost a billion more than last year.

“I am very encouraged to see that Floridians and families across the country are planning to spend more than ever before to celebrate the special dads in their lives,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “These results show that Americans are feeling more and more confident and optimistic in this improving economy and dads and retailers can expect to benefit this Father’s Day.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics, consumers plan to spend $3.3 billion on special outings such as dinner, brunch or other types of a “fun activity/experience” (given by 48 percent). Clothing (given by 46 percent) and gift cards (given by 43 percent) are tied at $2.2 billion each while consumer electronics (given by 21 percent) follow at $1.8 billion. As with Mother’s Day, greeting cards are the most commonly purchased gift at 64 percent but account for only $861 million of projected spending. Other popular gifts include personal care, automotive accessories, books, music, home improvement/gardening supplies and sporting goods.

The survey found 27 percent of shoppers will opt for a “gift of experience” such as tickets to a concert or a sporting event. The largest projected growth category was for “personal care” items such as cologne, razors, aftershave, etc. where spending is expected to be 20% higher over last year.

When searching for the perfect gift, 40 percent of consumers will head to department stores and 34 percent will shop online while 26 percent will shop at a discount store, 24 percent at a specialty store and 19 percent at a local small business. Among smartphone owners, 33 percent will use them to research gift ideas but only 18 percent will use them to make a purchase. Tablets are used more frequently both to research (32 percent) and buy (19 percent).

More than half of those surveyed plan to buy for their father or stepfather (54 percent), while others will shop for their husband (29 percent) or son (10 percent).

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
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com.

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Wednesday, 07 June 2017 09:17

Hurricane Season and Re-Entry Procedures

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June 1 was the official start to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. While skies are blue, we encourage you to take time now to make preparations for your family and your business. Make sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage in place, refresh your emergency supplies, back up your data, and make sure you have an emergency plan in place.

Probably the most frequent issue we address on behalf of our members during hurricane season is the issue of post-disaster re-entry. FRF President & CEO Scott Shalley and General Counsel/VP Samantha Padgett recently met with Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Bryan Koon and senior leadership to discuss this issue and the need for a clear and consistent directive for the entire state. Executive Director Koon has issued a letter of guidance to Florida businesses (available here). Employees, delivery trucks, common carriers, and other service providers serving businesses will need to be prepared with the following three items in order to gain re-entry to an impacted area:

  • Government-issue ID
  • Proof of employment
  • Demonstrated need to enter (for example, and employer authorization letter, bill of lading, or work order).

As always, local law enforcement has the final say regarding life safety issues.

We have firmly expressed the need for efficient and timely re-entry of businesses in order help citizens get the supplies they need and ensure economic resiliency. Even with the best of planning, occasional challenges arise. We will work with our public sector partners to facilitate resolution and encourage business continuity. Please do not hesitate to contact us; we are here to help.

Throughout the season, the Florida Retail Federation will provide you with information regarding approaching storms and post-disaster recovery. To ensure you are plugged in to all the right places, we encourage you to register your business with the state virtual business emergency operations center (www.flvbeoc.org.) We also encourage you to connect with your county and regional Emergency Management Coordinators (http://www.floridadisaster.org/regions/documents/em_managers.pdf). The state’s emergency management website, www.floridadisaster.org, also serves as a great resource for citizens and individuals.

For Immediate Release: May 30, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

With hurricane season almost upon us, now is the time for Floridians to stock up on important supplies to help keep them prepared and safe following a natural disaster

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retail industry, reminds consumers that this weekend, June 2-4, is the important Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During this time period, shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on eligible items and supplies that can be used to prepare for and recover from natural disasters that hit the Sunshine State.

“Thanks to our legislative leaders and Governor Scott for including the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday in the budget, especially with Florida coming off of a year with hurricanes, tornadoes and floods,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “I strongly encourage all residents and visitors to take advantage of these savings by visiting your local retailers to load up on those items that will help keep you and your family safe in the event of a natural disaster.”

The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 2, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2017. During the holiday, sales tax will not be collected on the following popular items (for a complete listing of these items and other information, please click here):

  • A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less.
  • A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or Weatherband radio selling for $50 or less.
  • A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less.
  • A self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less.
  • A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less.
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less.
  • A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less.
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less.
  • A portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less.
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

Additional information regarding the 2017 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, including a list of qualifying items, promotional materials and FAQs, has been posted to the Department of Revenue’s website.

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 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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The Florida Retail Federation, in conjunction with our partners at the National Retail Federation, passes along the good news that U.S. House Republican leaders plan to abandon an attempt to repeal debit card swipe fee reform that has saved retailers and their customers more than $40 billion and brought badly needed competition to the payments market.

Repeal of swipe fee reform would have come as part of the Financial Choice Act, a broad bill that would roll back banking regulations established in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The House is expected to vote on the bill after it returns from its Memorial Day recess in June, and leadership conducted a whip count this week to determine support for the overall measure and provisions such as the repeal of swipe fee reform. A number of Republican House members expressed concerns about repealing swipe reform, and reports indicate tonight that agreement has been reached to drop the provision.

Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.

Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from an average 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.

Reform also required that merchants be given at least two choices in the networks that route debit transactions to the banks for processing, typically one controlled by Visa or MasterCard and a competing, independent network that can offer advantages such as lower fees, better service or better security.

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