Wednesday, 14 November 2018 12:02

Holiday Shopping Forecast

FRF 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.

“The holiday shopping season is vital to the success of just about every Florida retailer, and thanks to an extremely strong state economy and more people with jobs, and therefore more money to spend, we expect it to be a big success for our more than 270,000 retail establishments,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley. “It’s a great time to hit the stores and shop for your family and friends, as retailers will face stiff competition for your business, which means great deals and opportunities for consumers.”

Consumers are expected to spend a record $1,007.24 on gifts this holiday season, 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

Top 5 categories for items being purchased:

  • Gift cards
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Books, movies or music
  • Electronics and accessories
  • Home décor and furnishings

The most popular toys this holiday season include:

  • Pomsies
  • Fur-Real Pets
  • The Fortnite version of Monopoly
  • Hatchimals
  • Perennial bestsellers like LEGOs and Barbies

For more information on FRF’s Holiday Shopping Forecast, click here.

Published in Retail News

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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Published in Media Relations

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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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Consumers expected to spend $18.2 billion nationally, down slightly from last year, but second-highest all-time; Food, clothing, candy, flowers and decorations lead the way in popularity

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retail industry, says Floridians will increase their Easter spending to near record levels this year, with the per person average expected to top $150, down slightly from last year’s record total of $152. The total expected to be spent nationally is $18.2 billion, second highest in survey history and down from last year’s record of $18.4 billion.

“Even though spending will be down slightly, it’s still near a record high which is great news for Sunshine State retailers who focus on stocking their shelves for the Easter holiday,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Easter is a great time for people to spend with family, which means consumers will be looking for deals on purchasing food, decorations and holding Easter egg hunts to celebrate.”

According to the survey, which was conducted by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $5.7 billion on food (purchased by 87 percent of shoppers), $3.2 billion on clothing (48 percent), $2.9 billion on gifts (61 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (89 percent), $1.3 billion on flowers (39 percent), $1.1 billion on decorations (42 percent) and $780 million on greeting cards (46 percent).

In preparation for the Easter holiday, 59 percent of consumers will shop at discount stores, 46 percent will visit department stores, 28 percent will make purchases online, 25 percent will go to a specialty store and 25 percent will go to a small business or local store. Among smartphone users, 30 percent will research products or compare prices on their devices while 19 percent will use their phones to make a purchase.

Consumers intend to celebrate Easter in several ways: 60 percent will visit family and friends, 58 percent will cook a holiday meal, 51 percent will go to church and 17 percent will go to a restaurant. The Easter Bunny is expected to have a busy holiday season: 35 percent of consumers will participate in an Easter egg hunt and 16 percent will open gifts. In addition to traditional holiday events, some consumers will pursue more leisurely activities: 45 percent will watch TV, 11 percent will shop online, 9 percent will shop in a store and 8 percent will go to a movie.

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

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

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
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