Wednesday, 23 September 2020 15:59

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
CONTACT:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 680-9262


Monthly Retail Imports, January 2019 to December 2020

Tallahassee, FL – As Florida and the rest of the United States continue to reopen, the Florida Retail Federation announced that retailers nationwide have set a new record of imports in preparation for the holiday season, according to a  report released on September 9. 

According to the data, U.S. ports handled 1.92 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in July, up 19.3 percent from June. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

August was estimated at 2.06 million TEU, a 6 percent year-over-year increase. Actual August numbers won't be confirmed until next month, but if reported as estimated, it will beat the previous record of 2.04 million TEU set in October 2018.

"Florida retailers are relieved to be able to restock and replenish their inventory after reopening the state," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "With the challenges we continue to face in 2020, Florida retailers are committed to making for a more joyful year's end for consumers during the holiday season. We want to support our customers during these challenging times and safely provide a merrier season for them and their loved ones."

The forecast for September is set at 1.89 million TEU, up 1.1 percent year over year. The report forecasts about 7.58 million TEU during the July-October “peak season.” This timeline is when retailers prepare merchandise for the winter holiday. According to the data, this forecast could make 2020 the third-busiest peak season on record following 7.7 million TEU in 2018 and 7.66 million TEU last year.

The data shared by the Florida Retail Federation is informed by a monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation.  The Global Port Tracker is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, which provides historical data and forecasts for U.S. ports. 

For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit:  https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/imports-spike-economy-continues-recovery-and-retailers-stock-holidays

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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, 21 September 2020 15:50

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Florida shoppers are enthusiastic about celebrating Halloween in a safe fashion this year, despite the pandemic, reports the Florida Retail Federation. In fact, according to a surveyconducted by the National Retail Federation, consumers are so focused on a memorable holiday that they plan to spend $92.12 on average this spooky season compared to $86.27 in 2019.

The survey reveals that three-quarters say the virus is impacting their celebration plans, with 17 percent planning to celebrate virtually. 

Still, 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in the ghoulish festivities. Most of the top activities this year include safer-at-home plans, like decorating the home (53%), carving pumpkins (46%), dressing up in costumes (46%) and dressing up their pets (18%).

Florida retailers are here to provide all the scary decor and sweet treats for your Halloween celebrations to be as memorable as they are safe," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "Unsurprisingly, consumers are looking to make the most of every holiday during this unusual year. Florida retailers are prepared to meet the increased demand for candy, decor, costumes and more to ensure a safe and spooky holiday for all." 

With the extra time spent at home, consumers are eager to begin shopping for the Halloween season, with four in 10 already searching for their ghoulish delights. Florida shoppers plan to visit discount stores, speciality Halloween shops, grocery stores and online retailers. About 30 percent of consumers plan to purchase their Halloween items online, up 5 percent compared to 2019. 

"Rest assured, Florida's stores are open and at the ready to help you stay safe and healthy while stocking up for the Halloween holiday," said Shalley. "For an added measure of precaution, many of Florida's retailers are offering purchase services to buy online to pick-up in store, receive curbside or have your products delivered to your door." 

As children eagerly await October 31st to dress up, the top staples remain consistent, including princesses and superheroes, most especially spiderman:

  • Princess - 2.7 million
  • Spiderman - 1.8 million
  • Superhero - 1.6 million
  • Ghost - 1.3 million
  • Batman - 1.3 million

Those who plan on dressing up their furry friends may have a pet pumpkin this Halloween, as the orange squash remains to be the hottest costume for animals. The top favorites include: 

  • Pumpkin - 10 percent
  • Hot Dog - 6 percent
  • Superhero - 5 percent
  • Cat - 3 percent

For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/consumers-anticipate-new-ways-celebrate-halloween-despite-covid-19

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Tuesday, 04 August 2020 12:23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 3, 2020
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Florida Retailers Offer Safe Ways to Save Money During Back-to-School Tax Holiday

Tallahassee, FL – Florida retail stores are preparing to safely help families save money while shopping for school supplies during the state’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday Friday, Aug. 7 through Aug. 9. “Florida retailers stand ready to help families meet their school supply needs this year,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “Whether children are learning from home or heading back to school this fall, families can safely shop and save money over the tax-free weekend.”

    The following items are available for purchase tax-free Aug. 7-9:
  • Masks, clothing, footwear and backpacks costing $60 or less;
  • School supplies costing $15 or less; and
  • First $1,000 of the sales tax price of personal computers or personal computer-related accessories.

According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Florida consumers plan to spend a record amount to properly prepare students for school this year. Families with children in elementary school through high school anticipate spending an average $789.49 per family, topping the previous year’s record of $696.70.

About 63 percent of K-12 families expect to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54 percent last year, spending at an average $274.44, up from $203.44 last year. College students also anticipate investing in new computers as 60 percent plan to buy electronics, up from 53 percent last year, and they expect to spend more at an average $261.52, up from $234.69.

There are more than 270,000 retail stores in Florida, and one in five jobs is tied to Florida retail. To ensure customers can safely shop, there are three ways you can purchase tax-free supplies from Florida retailers.

  • Visit: Visit your local retailer to shop all the options available.
  • Online: Find your favorite Florida retailer online to select what you need.
  • Curbside or Delivery: Call your local retailer to place an order for curbside pick-up or delivery, where available.

Many stores are taking safety precautions, including social distancing and wearing masks, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help protect others by following CDC guidelines and local laws.

Visit www.fldoe.org to learn more about what you need to prepare and help your children return to school safely. For a full list of eligible tax-free supplies, please visit FloridaRevenue.com/BacktoSchool.

This year’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday was established when Governor DeSantis signed HB 7097 into law on April 8. The legislation was championed by Budget Chairs Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings, and the tax-free holiday was a priority of Sen. Joe Gruters, Sen. Keith Perry, Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Bryan Avila.

The forecast on spending this season is informed by a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. For more information, visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/coronavirus-could-push-back-school-spending-record-level-uncertain.

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Thursday, 18 June 2020 09:14

Florida Retailers Stock Up on Dad Gear Up As Survey Shows Consumers Plan To Spend More on Dad This Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 9, 2020
CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – As Florida continues to reopen the state, consumers plan to go all out for Father's Day. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation reveals consumers are optimistic about celebrating the dads, grandfathers and other father figures in their lives. The report reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of consumers believe that Father's Day is important this year specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic. They plan to spend an average of $149 on a gift for dad, an increase of $10 over 2019.

"Due to the pandemic, lifestyles have changed drastically and many of the every day activities we take for granted were placed on pause," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "It's no surprise that Floridians are eager to find a unique gift that stands out to show dad their appreciation during this season. Florida retailers are dedicated to helping customers find a gift that matters and creates that special memory this Father's Day."

With the optimism brought on by the state reopening, many consumers are excited about the possibility of celebrating their dads in person. However, the survey revealed that 58%  of consumers are more likely to celebrate Father's Day virtually this year. 

When consumers were asked what they are looking for when purchasing gifts for dad, 41% indicated they plan to find a gift that is unique or different and 36% said they are looking for a gift that creates a special memory.

This extended time at home has provided the opportunity to tackle home projects and it's clear consumers are making sure dad has the gear he needs to launch his own DIY projects. According to the survey, 21% of consumers are planning to show dad some love with home improvement and gardening supplies.

Shoppers also plan to spend big on Dad in these other popular gift categories:

  • Greeting cards – 59%
  • Clothing – 46%
  • Gift cards – 44%
  • A special outing – 41%
  • Personal care – 25%
  • Books and CDs – 24%
  • Electronics – 23%
  • Tools or  appliances – 21%
  • Sporting goods – 20%

With residents able to shop in-store, Florida retailers are working diligently to ensure consumers can depend on a clean, safe and comfortable shopping environment while finding what they need this Father's Day. Florida's retailers' alternative methods continue to remain open, as well. Consumers can shop Florida retail online or through curbside or delivery services, where available.  

Many of Florida's retail stores, except those in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, were permitted to reopen at full occupancy on Friday, June 6, under Phase 12 recommendations of Governor Ron DeSantis's "Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step" plan for Florida's recovery.  Employees and consumers are still encouraged to abide by CDC guidelines. 

The data shared by the Florida Retail Federation is informed by a survey conducted and released by the National Retail Federation. For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/fathers-day

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Thursday, 09 April 2020 11:35

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2020
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Florida Governor Signs HB 7097 to Renew Back-to-School & Hurricane Preparedness Tax-Free Holidays

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 7097 into law today, which renews sales tax holidays for Florida consumers in preparation for back-to-school items and hurricane season supplies.

"These programs are needed now more than ever," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "Not only do these important tax-free holidays provide relief to consumers buying necessities, but they will inject a shot of adrenaline into Florida's retail businesses after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic and forced closures. Thank you to the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis for delivering this tax relief."

The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday will run the weekend of May 29 through June 4. Floridians will find these hurricane preparation supplies to be tax-free:

  • Portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less;
  • Certain portable radios selling for $50 or less;
  • Tarps selling for $50 or less;
  • Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits selling for $50 or less;
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less;
  • Packages of certain battery types, selling for $30 or less;
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less;
  • Portable generators for use in a power outage selling for $750 or less; and
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled from August 7 through 9. Florida families will be eligible to purchase clothing and school supplies without paying sales tax. School-related items include:

  • Clothing and shoes, priced $60 or less per item;
  • Backpacks, handbags and wallets, priced $60 or less per item;
  • School supplies, priced $15 or less per item; and
  • Personal computers or personal computer-related accessories, up to $1,000 per item will be tax-free.

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, 12 March 2020 11:31

Tallahassee, FL – Just hours after the Florida Legislature passed HB 389, which expands pharmacists’ ability to quickly diagnose and treat Florida patients with influenza and strep, along with minor, nonchronic health conditions such as ringworm and lice, the Governor signed the measure into law.

“On behalf of pharmacies that provide essential services to Florida families throughout our state, we are grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for supporting this important bill,” said Scott Shalley, Florida Retail President & CEO. “With the ability for pharmacists to provide immediate testing and treatment for flu and strep, patients in Florida can learn their diagnosis, access treatment and find relief faster.”

HB 389 was passed earlier today by both the Florida House and the Florida Senate. It was sent immediately to the Governor, and he signed it into law. The bill goes into effect on July 1.

Last year in the United States, 42 million people were sick with the flu in the, and more than 61,000 of those died. Making sure all Florida residents have access to flu testing and treatment quickly is critical to save lives.

Currently, 17 other states already allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu. The House bill requires pharmacists to have a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician and undergo additional training to be able to diagnose and treat the medical conditions listed.

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, 29 January 2020 08:44

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2020
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) shared the latest consumer spending data from an annual Super Bowl survey, forecasting this year to be the strongest one yet.

No need to call an audible on Super Bowl sales for Florida retailers. Those watching the event expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, per person, for a total $17.2 billion nationwide.

Nearly 194 million adults are saying they have plans for the big game.

“Florida is proud to host this year's Super Bowl,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. “Whether you are planning to host a watch party or looking for gear to show your team spirit, get what you need at Florida's retailers."

Hundreds of thousands of out-of-state fans are expected to travel to South Florida to watch the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs compete for the Super Bowl title at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The Super Bowl consumer spending update by the Florida Retail Federation is informed by the data released by the National Retail Federation. For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/super-bowl.

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Wednesday, 22 January 2020 08:21

SB 126 and HB 159 Modernize Florida Tax Law to Level the Playing Field for Florida Businesses

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
January 21, 2020
CONTACT:Amanda Bevis
(202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL –Senator Joe Gruters (R, Sarasota) and Representative Chuck Clemons (R, Perry) will join Florida retail business owners and business industry leaders on Wednesday, January 22, at 9:00 a.m., at a press conference to demand the Legislature act on SB 126 and HB 159 this session.

The event is part of an advocacy day organized by the Florida Retail Federation, during which Florida retail businesses will advocate for Florida businesses, Florida jobs and Florida families.

Currently, foreign companies are capitalizing on Florida’s outdated tax laws, and Florida retailers are competing with two hands tied behind their back. SB 126 and HB 159 will fix the problem, restore the free market and level the playing field for Florida businesses to compete.

WHO:
Senator Joe Gruters
Representative Chuck Clemons
Dominic Calabro, President and CEO, Florida TaxWatch
Jennifer Platt, Vice President for Federal Operations, ICSC
Shannon Collins, Badcock Home Furniture & more
David Hart, Executive Vice President of Government & Political Relations, Florida Chamber
Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, AIF
Scott Shalley, President and CEO, Florida Retail Federation

WHAT:
Press Conference on SB 126 and HB 159

WHEN:
Wednesday, January 22
9:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Senate Chamber - 4th Floor
Florida State Capitol
Tallahassee, FL

A BOUT 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 $52 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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Monday, 09 December 2019 09:43

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2019
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) today launched its “Fairness for Florida” website (fairnessforflorida.com) in support of legislation that will restore the free market and level the playing field for Florida businesses.

Currently, foreign and out-of-state businesses avoid collecting and remitting sales tax to Florida on purchases made by Floridians, putting businesses in Florida at a severe disadvantage. Florida is one of only two states that has not yet modernized its tax system to reflect the changing environment.

“Foreign companies are luring Florida consumers by advertising cheaper prices that don’t account for taxes owed,” said Scott Shalley, President & CEO of the FRF. “This scheme is putting Florida retailers out of business and taking away jobs for Florida families.”

SB 126, sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, and HB 159, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Clemons, can fix this problem. This legislation will level the playing field and restore the free market by enforcing the law that businesses must pay these taxes.

“Florida retailers provide jobs for Florida families, support their local communities, and pay state and local taxes,” said Sen. Gruters. “We must ensure that our businesses are able to compete globally and are not hindered by outdated regulations here at home.”

There are more than 270,000 retailers in Florida, and these businesses provide more than 2.7 million jobs for Florida families. It is estimated that one in five jobs in Florida are tied to the retail industry “Florida retailers are competing with one hand tied behind their back,” said Rep. Clemons. “We must restore the free market.”

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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Monday, 09 December 2019 08:29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 6, 2019
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Toy Safety Checklist Includes Checking Age Range on Toys and Assembling Parts Before the Fun Begins

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) wants to help Florida families stay safe this holiday season, and there are steps consumers can take to ensure the safety of gifts they purchase for family and friends, especially young children.

“Finding the perfect gift can be a challenge. We want to make sure shoppers find gifts that are both fun and safe for the children on their list this holiday season,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. “Our Toy Safety Checklist is a simple way that parents, grandparents and other gift givers can select and give gifts that are safe and age-appropriate.”

The FRF’s Toy Safety Checklist includes:

  1. Buy toys from reputable retail stores or websites
  2. Check the age range to make sure the toy is suitable for the child in mind and avoid toys with small parts when shopping for children under age three
  3. Inspect toys for loose hair and small parts, sharp edges and points
  4. Carefully read instructions and warnings provided with toys
  5. Assemble and inspect toys before giving them to children

In 2017, there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Of the 251,700 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, an estimated 184,000 (73%) occurred involving children younger than 15 years of age and an estimated 89,800 (36%) occurred involving children younger than five years of age.

For more insights on how to safely shop toys this holiday season, visit: playsafe.org

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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