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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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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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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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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