Tuesday, 19 February 2019 09:58

Important information regarding February and March SNAP benefits

SNAP customers who are not renewing in February will receive half of their March benefits on March 1, 2019 and half on their regularly assigned day.

When will SNAP customers who are renewing benefits in February receive their benefits?

  • If the customer's renewal is approved by February 16th for the month of March, half of their benefits benefits will be distributed on March 1st and the other half on their regularly assigned day.
  • If the customer's renewal is approved on or after February 17th for the month of March, their case will be processed as usual and full benefits for March will be available on their regularly assigned day.
  • New approved applications will be processed as usual and March benefits will be available on the assigned day.
  • Click here to download the SNAP customer split issuance FAQ flyer.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 08:46

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Even though fewer consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, those who are plan on spending a record amount this year, averaging $162 per person

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 80 years, says that in spite of fewer consumers showering a special someone with flowers and gifts for Valentine’s Day, the average spent per person is expected to reach a record high of $162, for a total nationally of almost $21 billion in sales.

“Another special event on the calendar and another spending record is expected, once again reinforcing the strength of the economy both statewide and nationally,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “More consumers are employed with more money to spend, meaning great sales opportunities for retailers throughout Florida.”

Thanks to a survey done by FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation, those surveyed said they would spend an average $161.96. That’s up 13 percent from last year’s $143.56 and easily tops the previous record of $146.84 set in 2016. Total spending is expected to be $20.7 billion, which is an increase of 6 percent over last year’s $19.6 billion and breaks the previous record of $19.7 billion, also set in 2016.

The spending increases come even though only 51 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday, down from 55 percent last year and a high of 63 percent in 2007. It is unclear why the number of consumers celebrating has trended downward over the past 12 years, but spending, while varying with the economy, has generally trended up. The lowest spending during the period was $102.50 in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Of the $18.40 increase in average spending, only $4.26 comes from spending on spouses and significant others, which is expected to total $93.24. Consumers said they would spend $29.87 on other family members, up $4.58; $9.78 on friends, up $2.59; $8.63 on children’s classmates or teachers, up $1.37; $7.78 on co-workers, up $2.99; $6.94 on pets, up $1.44 and $5.72 on others, up $1.17.

As in each year of the survey, men are the biggest spenders at $229.54, up 20 percent from last year. That’s more than double the $97.77 women said they would spend, which is down 1 percent, and is within the survey’s margin of error.

Among age groups, those 35-44 are the biggest Valentine spenders at $279.14, followed by those 25-34 at $239.07. Both groups typically have more people to buy for including children and children’s classmates or teachers.

Gifts for pets continue to be popular, purchased by 20 percent. Pet spending is expected to total $886 million, up $519 million since NRF first asked in 2008.

Those celebrating plan to spend $3.9 billion on jewelry (given by 18 percent), $3.5 billion on an evening out (34 percent), $2.1 billion on clothing (18 percent), $1.9 billion on flowers (35 percent), $1.8 billion on candy (52 percent), $1.3 billion on gift cards (15 percent) and $933 million on greeting cards (44 percent). Gifts of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa are wanted by 40 percent and planned to be given by 25 percent.

“With so many different ways to show your love for someone – from flowers to candy to gift cards to jewelry – Sunshine State retailers have everything someone would need to make their Valentine’s Day special,” said Shalley.

Department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 35 percent of shoppers, followed by discount stores (32 percent), online (27 percent), specialty stores (18 percent) florists (16 percent), small or local businesses (14 percent), jewelry stores and specialty clothing stores (each 9 percent).

Even among those who don’t plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day as such, 11 percent plan to treat themselves to gifts like clothing or jewelry and 9 percent plan to get together with other single friends or family.

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, 06 February 2019 16:15

For Immediate Release: February 5, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The Court decided not to hear an appeal from the City of Miami Beach over its proposed increase in the minimum wage, deferring to an already existing state legislative preemption; FRF, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association celebrate the ruling on behalf of Florida’s business community

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Supreme Court today decided not to hear an appeal by the City of Miami Beach regarding a wage ordinance adopted by the city, signaling a significant victory for three of Florida’s leading business organizations. The Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association originally filed suit in circuit court against an ordinance proposing to raise the minimum wage in spite of a state preemption, because it was not valid under section 218.077 F.S. which preempts local minimum wages. The City then appealed that ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. The suit was filed by Charles Caulkins of the South Florida law firm Fisher Philips LLC.

“We want to thank the attorney general and the solicitor general for intervening on our behalf in this case, as well as our coalition partners for their collaboration and commitment to ensuring Florida business owners remain free to decide how to best successfully run their own businesses,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF President & CEO.

“The Florida Chamber of Commerce is pleased that Florida’s highest court agreed that Miami Beach’s ordinance was unconstitutional. Today’s Florida Supreme Court action serves as a proof point to other local governments that a patchwork of mandated wage regulations are against the law," said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognized the constitutionality of the statute that establishes one consistent state-wide minimum wage. This ruling provides economic stability across the state and protects the rights of business owners to pay wages that their local markets demand," said Carol B. Dover, CEO / President of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

In December 2016, the City of Miami Beach passed a city ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $10.31/hour starting January 1, 2018, and increase it $1.00/year until it reaches $13.31 in 2021. FRF and its coalition partners argued that the ordinance disregarded a state statute which established the State of Florida will determine one consistent minimum wage for the entire state. This statute allows for local government entities to adopt ordinances to exceed this wage for those working or contracting with the local government. The case was originally heard by the 11th Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County which ruled on March 28, 2017, that the ordinance was unconstitutional.

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 FLORIDA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING ASSOCIATION
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $108.8 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.4 million employees - making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 10-12, 2017 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:32

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

More than $81 per person expected to be spent this year on food, drinks and decorations, as lure of the Super Bowl continues to attract everyone from diehard football fans to casual viewers

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 80 years, says Florida families will spend an average of $81.30 per person to watch Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. The average cost per person is up slightly from 2018 and the second-highest on record, with total spending nationally expected to surpass $14.8 billion.

“The Super Bowl continues to be must-watch television for both loyal fans and those that haven’t watched a game all season,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF President & CEO. “Consumers will stock up on food and drink as well as apparel and even new televisions. Florida’s retailers stand ready to provide everything needed for Super Bowl Sunday.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average spending is virtually unchanged from last year’s $81.17 and is the second-highest in the history of the survey after a record of $82.19 set in 2016. The total amount is down from last year’s $15.3 billion, primarily because fewer people plan to watch the game – 182.5 million this year compared with 188.5 million last year. The overall spending is still the third-highest on record, after last year’s figure and $15.5 billion in 2016.

The biggest spenders are those ages 35-44 at an average $123.26 while the lowest are those 65 and older at $40.97. Viewers in the Northeast plan to spend the most, at an average $94.89, followed by the West at $84.01, the South at $79.09 and the Midwest at $69.24.

“With Florida historically matching or exceeding national averages, this helps reinforce the strength of our economy. Florida retailers are excited about the opportunities provided by the biggest television event of the year,” said Shalley.

The survey found that 72 percent of adults plan to watch the game, down from 76 percent last year. Among those watching, 79 percent plan to buy food and beverages, 10 percent team apparel and accessories, 7 percent decorations, also 7 percent for new televisions, and 4 percent furniture such as entertainment centers.

Close to a quarter (24 percent or 61 million) plan to attend a party, while 17 percent (44 million) will throw one while 5 percent (13 million) will watch in a bar or restaurant. The largest share of those watching (43 percent) say the game is the most important part of the event, but 23 percent cite the commercials, 14 percent getting together with friends, 13 percent the halftime show and 7 percent the food.

The survey found that 76 percent see the commercials as entertainment and that only 10 percent say they are influenced to make a purchase, but the ads carry more weight among younger viewers. Of those ages 18-24, 17 percent say the commercials influence them to buy and 16 percent are prompted to search online for more information.

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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Tuesday, 18 December 2018 11:33

For Immediate Release:December 18, 2018
CONTACT:James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

All indications show that Florida’s holiday shopping season is in line with the national average of a 4.3% increase so far over 2017, and is on track to exceed FRF’s prediction of a 4.5% increase

TALLAHASSEE, FL –The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 80 years, feels confident its prediction of a 4.5% increase in holiday shopping sales over 2017’s numbers will come to fruition if not exceed it. With just one week left before Christmas, Florida’s retailers are experiencing the benefits of a healthy state economy with more residents employed.

“With so many positive economic indicators driving Florida’s economy, particularly our 10-year low unemployment rate, we expected this holiday shopping season to be robust, and so far it’s exceeding our expectations and those of our members,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We were worried about what the record high online spending during the Thanksgiving holiday stretch would mean for December, but with stores full of shoppers and millions of online orders being filled each day, it looks like our strong start may be met with an equally strong finish.”

FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation said sales are up 4.3 percent nationally over the same period a year ago, and up 5 percent for the entire year so far. FRF predicted a 4.5 percent increase during the holiday shopping season thanks to numerous positive statewide economic indicators including the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade, strong consumer confidence, record-breaking tourism, a hot housing market and more shoppers with more money to spend.

Consumers are expected to spend a record $1,007.24 on gifts this holiday season, which is up considerably over 2017’s total of $967, which was the previous record. 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.

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, 14 November 2018 11:49

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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Monday, 29 October 2018 08:45

For Immediate Release: October 24, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

These new House candidates are diverse but focused on making Florida more business-friendly, and are the choices for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of a number of new Florida House candidates for open seats. These candidates include:

Wyman Duggan, HD15 Elizabeth Fetterhoff, HD26 David Smith, HD28
Anthony Sabatini, HD32 Brett Hage, HD33 Adrian Zika, HD37
Stockton Reeves, HD47 Ben Griffin, HD49 Tyler Sirois, HD51
Joe Wicker, HD59 Dianne Hart, HD61 Nick DiCeglie, HD66
Ray Blacklidge, HD69 Will Robinson, HD71 Ray Pilon, HD72
Tommy Gregory, HD73 Spencer Roach, HD79 Tina Polsky, HD81
Toby Overdorf, HD83 Mike Caruso, HD89 Chip LaMarca, HD93
Frank Mingo, HD103 Ana Maria Rodriguez, HD105 Rosa Mario Palomino, HD112
Vance Aloupis, HD115 Anthony Rodriguez, HD118  

“The diversity of these candidates includes some with a direct connection to retail, small business owners, and those new to holding public office, but all are focused on making Florida the most business-friendly state in the nation,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Meeting each of these candidates in person has us excited about working with them as members of the Florida House in support of the state’s retail industry.”

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 25 October 2018 09:50

For Immediate Release: October 25, 2018 CONTACT: James Miller
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Orlando Police Dept. Officer Rivera’s enforcement of retail and economic crime made her the choice as 2018 recipient; FDLE Special Agent Tatiana Miguel and US Secret Service Agent Logan Workman selected as Runners-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for more than 80 years, announced the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Detective Rebecca Rivera of the City of Orlando Police Department was selected as the 2018 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runners-Up were FDLE Special Agent Tatiana Miguel and United States Secret Service Agent Logan Workman. All were recognized, in part, for their work in preventing organized retail crime, and were honored at a prestigious law enforcement awards dinner held earlier this week.

“It’s impossible to truly show how much Florida’s retail industry values and appreciates our law enforcement officers, but we hope by highlighting the impact these worthy recipients have on our member businesses, their employees and their customers, is one small way we can show our appreciation,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We are extremely grateful to Officer Rivera and Special Agents Miguel and Workman for the sacrifice they make every single day, and we thank them for keeping us safe.”

Officer Rivera received a cash award, a number of gift cards from FRF member retailers 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.

2018 WINNER: OFFICER REBECCA RIVERA
Officer Rebecca Rivera is an 8-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department. In her time on the I-Drive bike squad, Officer Rivera has been instrumental in the squad’s proactive enforcement of retail and economic crime. She is recognized by her peers for her performance, initiative, and dedication to her work. Officer Rivera’s diligence, keen skills, investigative tenacity, and use of surveillance resulted in a significant increase in retail theft arrests. Officer Rivera routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist International Drive businesses in crime prevention, investigation, and the apprehension of criminals.

RUNNER-UP: SPECIAL AGENT TATIANA MIGUEL
Special Agent Miguel is a 15-year veteran of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and has been serving the State of Florida for 32 years. She is currently assigned to the Miami Regional Operations Center. Her past assignments with FDLE included economic crimes, internet crimes against children, domestic security, and public integrity. Special Agent Miguel has also served as an Organized Crime Intelligence Agent for the Palm Beach/ Broward/ Miami-Dade region.

Special Agent Miguel along with Special Agent Logan Workman were honored together for their work on "Operation Benefactor.” Together, their efforts led to the arrests of 14 individuals in a case with a financial impact of $2.5 million with ties to ongoing federal investigations totaling in excess of $20 million.

RUNNER-UP: SPECIAL AGENT LOGAN WORKMAN
Special Agent Workman is a 3-year veteran of the United States Secret Service assigned to the Miami Field Office and has been instrumental in a number of significant fraud investigations affecting retailers leading to numerous federal arrests and convictions.

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.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:04

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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Monday, 15 October 2018 16:33

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

These House incumbents have been supportive of Florida retailers in the past, and are the choices for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of a number of House incumbents who have all supported Florida’s retail industry during their previous terms in the Florida House. These incumbents include:

Jayer Williamson, District 3 Mel Ponder, District 4 Jay Trumbull, District 6
Clay Yarborough, District 12 Jason Fischer, District 16 Cyndi Stevenson, District 17
Bobby Payne, District 19 Charles Clemons, District 21 Charlie Stone, District 22
Stan McClain, District 23 Paul Renner, District 24 Tom Leek, District 25
David Santiago, District 27 Bob Cortes, District 30 Jennifer Sullivan, District 31
Blaise Ingoglia, District 35 Amber Mariano, District 36 Danny Burgess, District 38
Josie Tomkow, District 39 Colleen Burton, District 40 Mike LaRosa, District 42
Bobby Olszewski, District 44 Rene Plasencia, District 50 Randy Fine, District 53
Cary Pigman, District 55 Lawrence McClure, District 58 Jackie Toledo, District 60
James Grant, District 64 Chris Sprowls, District 65 Chris Latvala, District 67
Ray Rodrigues, District 76 Dane Eagle, District 77 Heather Fitzenhagen, District 78
Byron Donalds, District 80 MaryLynn Magar, District 82 Rick Roth, District 85
Bob Rommel, District 106 Jose Oliva, District 110 Bryan Avila, District 111
Daniel Perez, District 116 Holly Raschein, District 120

“For our industry and our members to succeed, it’s important for us to have legislative partners who understand the value that retail brings to our state and have them work to pass legislation that supports the growth of Florida businesses,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “These House incumbents have been friends of retailing and we’re confident they will continue this support when they are re-elected.”

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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