By Clayton Park
www.news-journalonline.com

DAYTONA BEACH — Ted Teschner, owner of the Mr. Dunderbak’s restaurant at Volusia Mall, was expecting a busy day feeding hungry shoppers on Black Friday, but was surprised at just how busy it got.

“Our Black Friday may have been the best we’ve ever had,” said the longtime mall tenant, who celebrated 42 years in business this past week. “It was a 25 percent increase (in sales) over last year and last year was pretty good. We weren’t adequately staffed. It was like a steamroller.”

Teschner added that business for his eatery since then has remained up “closer to 5 to 10 percent” over the same time last year.

With the holiday shopping season approaching the midway mark, local retailers and restaurateurs said sales are on pace to exceed last year’s numbers.

“Black Friday was very crazy,” said Kelvin Oats, assistant store leader at the GameStop store at Volusia Mall. Oats added that the store on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, sold out of its entire inventory of Playstation 4 Slim game consoles in just two hours. “It’s going pretty good,” he added of sales at the store since then.

Corrine Conforto, manager of the FYE entertainment/toy store at Volusia Mall, also reported a strong start to the holiday season.

“We had a constant line at the (cash) registers for most of the day (on Black Friday),” she said, adding that the store was the second-best performing FYE location that day in the district, which covers several counties.

“It’s been a great holiday season so far,” Conforto said, adding that some of the top selling items at her store have been Fingerlings toys, which she described as “animatronic monkeys that sit on your hand and make noise,” Hatchimals and drones.

At the Tanger Outlets, General Manager Scott Sadove said in an email, “We’ve seen a lot of traffic at our center and expect to see it through the holiday.”

And it’s not just stores at the area’s major shopping centers that say they are doing well.

On East Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach, Angela Heaster, owner of the beachside Gaslamp Gift Gallery, said, “Both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (also on Thanksgiving weekend) were very successful. We were definitely busier than we anticipated. It was wonderful.”

Heaster, who with her husband, own the Gaslamp Shoppes on Granada that includes her shop as well as several other independent shops and restaurants, said she has heard similar reports from her tenants.

“I think people are feeling more comfortable spending money,” she said, crediting the increased sales in part to the improving economy and rising consumer confidence.

Jeff Sidwell, owner of the Bon Gourmet wine-and-cheese shop at the Gaslamp Shoppes, said, “The holiday season seems like its gotten off to a rapid start better than last year and last year was strong.”

“A lot of people have been moving to town so we’re always meeting new people,” he added.

The Florida Retail Federation prior to the start of the holiday shopping season predicted that retail spending statewide would be up 3 to 3.5 percent over last year’s holiday season.

“So far, everything we’ve heard from our members, both big and small, is that everyone seems to be pleased,” said James Miller, a spokesman for the Florida Retail Federation.

And because Christmas this year falls on a Monday, that means the holiday shopping season will span five weekends, as opposed to just four most years.

“Having that extra weekend before Christmas is going to be huge,” Miller said. “The final weekend (before Christmas) is traditional the biggest (for retail sales).”

This year, shoppers in the Daytona Beach area have more options than ever, thanks to the new stores and restaurants opening at the new One Daytona retail/dining/entertainment complex across the street from Daytona International Speedway, and the Tanger Outlets mall on the east side of Interstate 95, which opened in November of last year.

In an effort to compete, not just with each other but also online retailers, local shopping centers, including Volusia Mall, Tanger and One Daytona are also offering entertainment and other special events during the holidays.

This Saturday, Tanger will hold a holiday tree-lighting event and will be offering “Selfies with Santa” events each Saturday afternoon through the rest of the month where children can have their photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Volusia Mall has a Santa’s village display in its Center Court where kids can have their photos taken with Old Saint Nick. Mall spokeswoman Kristina Circelli said a free afternoon concert is also planned at Center Court on Dec. 23 (and possibly also on Dec. 16). The mall also offers daily kids train rides.

One Daytona on Thursday kicked off its year-round offerings of daily live music and special events every Thursday through Sunday. The center will also hold a “Family Night On The Front Lawn” event on Dec. 16 that includes a s’mores bar, holiday carolers, face-painting and balloon animals, and a children’s story time.

All are line with what national retail consultant Howard Davidowitz described as necessary efforts by malls to “Amazon-proof themselves.”

Davidowitz, earlier this fall, said entertainment and special events can be a key to success for malls and brick-and-mortar retailers in seeking to compete with online retail giants such as Amazon.com.

“Malls need to focus on experiential offerings,” he said.

At Volusia Mall, Teschner of Mr. Dunderbak’s, said the Saturday before Christmas for his restaurant is typically 50 percent to twice as busy as it is on Black Friday. Gift baskets of gourmet food and deli items are especially good sellers at his eatery that day, he said, adding that many of those last-minute shoppers are typically men.

“It’s nice that we’re kind of like a tradition for some folks,” he said. read more

Published in FRF in the News

by John Lucas
thecapitolist.com

Florida retailers seem pleased with the start of the holiday shopping season.

It started with Black Friday, which actually started before Friday. Then came Cyber Monday.

“Via anecdotal conversations with large and small retailers and research we’ve seen, everyone seems happy with the turnout, whether it be via in-store or online,” said James Miller with the Florida Retail Federation (FRF).

FRF has predicted a 3-3.5 percent increase in sales this holiday season in Florida.

“There may have been slightly smaller crowds, but that was more than made up for via online sales,” Miller added. “Lots of our small retailers were very happy with the turnout in their stores. Cyber Monday is slated to be the biggest one ever, so all of these signs point to a very strong start to the retail season.”

The holiday shopping season accounts for 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. The National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend an average of $967 on gifts this year. That’s an increase of $32 per person over last year’s holiday shopping numbers, and $15 more than the record-setting sales year of 2015.

“This season should be another strong one for our retail members, thanks to a 10 year low unemployment rate, a strong housing market, high consumer confidence and 100 million tourists leaving with more than what they came with,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley.

Shalley says Hurricane Irma played a “significant factor” on the holiday shopping forecast for Florida this year. Irma caused damage in major population areas across most of the state and many residents are still recovering. But FRF says the overall strength of the state’s economy and the resilience of the state’s retail industry will help offset the potential loss of sales.

“Hurricane Irma hit our state extremely hard, particularly in these areas, and we factored in this impact in our forecast, but we feel the overall strength of our economy and the incredible recovery efforts that have taken place will help lessen the impact on retail sales this holiday season,” said Shalley.

Being a popular tourist destination gives an added boost to Florida’s holiday shopping figures. Surveys consistently list shopping as one of the top activities on the agendas of people who come to Florida for a vacation.

“Tourism continues to be a powerful influence on the success of Florida’s economy and specifically the retail industry, and 2017 is expected to set a new record on number of tourists which is great news for our members,” said Shalley.

The popular items on people’s shopping lists for this holiday season are gift cards for the 11th year in a row, followed by clothing and accessories, books, movies or music, electronics, home décor and furnishings and jewelry. read more

Published in FRF in the News

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

In spite of the impacts of Hurricane Irma on Florida, FRF is still predicting a 3-3.5% increase in sales over 2016, thanks to high consumer confidence, robust housing, a 10-yr low unemployment rate and 100+ million tourists

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of representing retailers, announced today it expects holiday sales to increase 3-3.5 percent over last year, thanks to a healthy economy and a number of positive economic indicators.

“This season should be another strong one for our retail members, thanks to a 10 year low unemployment rate, a strong housing market, high consumer confidence and 100 million tourists leaving with more than what they came with,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley. “Due to the increased competition among retailers, consumers should expect great deals and discounts as they enjoy the annual holiday shopping season with friends and family.”

The impact of Hurricane Irma on Floridians played a significant factor in the final forecast number for FRF. The storm caused damage in major population areas in Southwest Florida, South Florida and the Keys and the Jacksonville area. Many residents are still recovering and possibly unable to spend as much on holiday shopping this year. However, the overall strength of Florida’s economy and the resilience of the state’s retail industry will help make up for this potential loss of sales.

“Hurricane Irma hit our state extremely hard, particularly in these areas, and we factored in this impact in our forecast, but we feel the overall strength of our economy and the incredible recovery efforts that have taken place will help lessen the impact on retail sales this holiday season,” said Shalley.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $967 on gifts, according to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation, which is up significantly from 2016’s average of $935 and higher than the previous record of $952 in 2015. This breaks down to $608 spent on gifts for family, friends and co-workers, $218 spent on decorations, flowers and greeting cards, and $141 spent by the shopper on themselves. Total spending is expected to increase to more than $678 billion, up from $655 billion last year thanks in part to the continued growth and spending of Millennials.

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.

One continued significant advantage that Florida enjoys over most other states is the influx of more than 100 million tourists, 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 be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching options, hot-selling toys and free shipping, which continues to be one of the most popular requested promotions each year.

“Tourism continues to be a powerful influence on the success of Florida’s economy and specifically the retail industry, and 2017 is expected to set a new record on number of tourists which is great news for our members,” said Shalley.

Sunshine State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 11th year in a row, followed by clothing and accessories, books, movies or music, electronics, home décor and furnishings and jewelry. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Hatchimals, Toys from the new Star Wars and Justice League movies, Barbies and LEGOS, Nerf toys, and toys from Disney Junior shows.

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 complete by Black Friday.

“Retailers are responding to the demand by consumers to have the holiday shopping experience prior to the traditional late November/December timeframe,” said Shalley. “This is why consumers are already seeing holiday decorations and themes in stores, as retailers try to get shoppers in the Christmas shopping mindset earlier.”

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 expected to see between 500,000-555,000 seasonal jobs. The increase in hiring and the increase in economic activity during the holiday season have a positive impact on industries outside of just retail.

“The holiday season is a great time for new or returning professionals to enter the workforce as millions of temporary jobs turn into full-time jobs once the holiday shopping season is over,” said Shalley. “We look forward to the thousands of new jobs that families will have this year as a result of Florida’s retail industry.”

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.

Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Average person expected to spend $86 this year on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and greeting cards; total spending nationally to set record of $9.1 billion

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to once again set an all-time high with the average person spending more than $86, up from $83 in 2016. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $9.1 billion up from $8.4 billion last year.

“Another year of expected record spending on Halloween festivities is great news for Florida’s retailers,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “The crafty retailers in our state will be able to scare up more sales by offering special discounts and other incentives to get more people in their stores to purchase costumes, decorations and candy.”

According to a recent survey done by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend an average of $86.13, up from last year’s $82.93, with 179 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million in 2016.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes (purchased by 69 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.7 billion on candy (95 percent), another $2.7 billion on decorations (72 percent) and $410 million on greeting cards (37 percent).

According to Candystore.com, the most popular Halloween candy in the Sunshine State, based on sales data from 2007-2016, are Skittles (630,938 pounds sold), followed by Snickers (587,385) and Reese’s Cups (224,637). The top three most popular Halloween candies across the country are Skittles, Reese’s Cups and M&M’s.

Among Halloween celebrants, 71 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 46 percent will carve a pumpkin, 35 percent will throw or attend a party, 31 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 23 percent will visit a haunted house and 16 percent will dress pets in costumes.

Thirty-five percent of consumers will find their inspiration for the perfect costume online, while 30 percent will look in stores, 20 percent will ask friends and family, 18 percent will look to Facebook or Pinterest, 17 percent will be influenced by pop culture and 14 percent by print media.

When it comes to buying costumes and other Halloween supplies, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores and 38 percent will go to a specialty Halloween store or costume store. In addition, 25 percent will visit supermarkets, 24 percent will buy at department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

Top Costumes
More than 3.7 million children plan to dress as their favorite action character or superhero, 2.9 million as Batman characters and another 2.9 million as their favorite princess while 2.2 million will dress as a cat, dog, monkey or other animal.

Costumes Ranked: Children
Action/Superhero 7.1%
Batman Character 5.5%
Princess 5.5%
Animal (Cat, Dog, Monkey, etc.) 4.1%
Spider-Man 3.6%
Star Wars Character 3.1%
Witch 3.0%
Marvel Superhero (excl. Spider-Man) 2.9%
Pirate 2.9%
Disney Princess 2.3%

Proving that Halloween isn’t just for kids, a record number of adults (48 percent) plan to dress in costume this year. More than 5.8 million adults plan to dress like a witch, 3.2 million as their favorite Batman character, 3 million as an animal (cat, dog, cow, etc.), and 2.8 million as a pirate.

Costumes Ranked: Adults
Witch
8.5%
Batman Character (Batman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, etc.)
4.7%
Animal (Cat, Dog, etc.)

4.3%

Pirate 4.1%
Marvel Superhero (Spider-Man, Captain America, etc.)
3.8%
Vampire 3.1%
Zombie 2.6%
DC Superhero (excluding Batman, Wonder Woman) 2.3%
Star Wars Character 2.3%
Slasher Movie Villain (Jason, Scream, etc.)
2.3%
Wonder Woman
2.2%

 

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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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Average per person and total spending on food for cookouts and picnics up from 2016

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retail industry, has good news for retailers this Independence Day weekend, with per person spending on food for cookouts and picnics expected to increase from last year with total spending on food nationally to exceed $7.1 billion. The numbers cover only food items, not other holiday-related spending.

“Independence Day weekend is the most popular time for family and friends to get together for cookouts, picnics and celebrations, and these survey numbers portend great things for retailers this year,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We continue to see year-over-year increases each shopping weekend in 2017, which shows that the economy is doing well and consumers are feeling confident about their own economic situation and willing to spend more this year.”

According to the annual survey released by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation and conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics, 219 million Americans plan to celebrate the holiday, or 88 percent of those surveyed. A total of 162 million — 66 percent of those surveyed — plan to take part in a cookout or picnic, spending an average $73.42 per person, up from last year’s $71.34.

The survey found that 65 percent of consumers already own a U.S. flag, 53 percent patriotic-themed apparel such as T-shirts, bathing suits or shoes, and 40 percent own patriotic decorations. Nonetheless, 28 percent plan on purchasing more patriotic items.

When it comes to other activities to celebrate Independence Day, 44 percent of Americans will attend a firework show or community celebration and 14 percent will watch a parade. The holiday weekend is also a popular time for travel, with 32.9 million Americans saying they will head out of town (13 percent of those celebrating), up from 31.1 million from last year. Only 18 percent say the price of gasoline will affect their plans, down from 21 percent last year and a record low since the survey began in 2004. The number who said high gas prices would discourage them from spending for Independence Day peaked at 59 percent in 2008.

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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Published in Media Relations
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