FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Halloween this year is expected to be a delightfully frightful success, according to the 2021 retail sales forecast data issued this week by the National Retail Federation. Halloween is the second biggest retail event of the year, and data reveals this year will be a comeback from the moderated activities during the pandemic. 

"You can already feel the energy and excitement among Florida retailers, with consumers in-store and online searching for items to make this Halloween one for the books," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "When you're selecting your costume, stocking up on candy or loading up pumpkins, be sure to Find It In Florida! Support our local businesses and local jobs this scary season." 

Sixty-five percent of Americans intend to celebrate Halloween or participate in festivities, which is close to pre-pandemic levels. Some of the top ghoulish festivities for 2021 include handing out candy (66%), decorating the home or yard (52%), dressing up in costumes (46%), carving pumpkins (44%) and hosting or attending a Halloween party (25%).

Nationally, consumers plan to spend an all-time high of $10.14 billion to celebrate Halloween compared to $8.05 billion in 2020. Shoppers plan to spend $102.74 on average this Halloween compared to $92.74 in 2020.

One-third of total Halloween expenditures, or $3.32 billion will be on costumes, representing the highest forecast since 2017.

The surprise upset in this year's forecast is in the popular children's costume category. Spiderman has dethroned the princess for top costume this year, pushing long-time favorite princess to the #2 spot.

  • Spiderman - 1.8 million
  • Princess - 1.6 million
  • Batman - 1.2 million
  • Superhero - 1.2 million

Individuals planning to include their pets in the Hallow's Eve festivities will find pumpkin continues to reign as the hottest costume for the sixth consecutive year in a row. Superhero and cat costumes are tied as a top favorite for furry friends. The top five pet costumes are: 

  • Pumpkin - 10 percent
  • Hot Dog - 5 percent
  • Superhero - 4 percent
  • Cat - 4 percent
  • Bumblebee - 3 percent


Florida shoppers are getting an early start on their shopping for ghoulish delights at retail stores. This year, 45% of consumers started shopping in September, and 39% plan to purchase their spooky supplies during the first two weeks of October.

This Halloween, when shoppers "Find It In Florida" and shop local retailers, they help boost the local economy and support community businesses. Learn more about the "Find It In Florida" program at the website

For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/halloween-spending-soars-celebrations-near-pre-pandemic-levels

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – During National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is putting the spotlight on a family-owned retailer. In downtown Miami, Animal Crackers is not only taming the manes of dogs across all of South Florida, but making sure man's best friend is well-fed for a lifetime of belly rubs.

Meet Florida native, JJ Diaz. Diaz is the passionate owner and founder of Animal Crackers, a retail store offering healthy pet food and grooming services.  

Born and raised in Miami, Diaz spent most of his days outside as a kid, playing in the woods and catching lizards, frogs or any animal he could get his hands on. 

Though he grew up without having his own pet, it did not stop Diaz from picking up a dog the moment he moved off to college. While in Gainesville, Diaz adopted Jake, a rottweiler that had many health problems and not very long to live. 

For Diaz, failure was not an option. He traveled and met with a veterinarian that took a holistic approach. 

"By changing his diet and lifestyle, we were able to naturally, internally heal my dog," said Diaz. "It was kind of wicked to see." 

As a result, his one year left with Jake ended up being a lifelong friendship. For Diaz, the impact of this lifestyle change on the dog's health and wellness was not lost.

After Diaz graduated from the University of Florida, he entered the corporate world of Miami. But Diaz kept drumming up new business opportunities. He even entered and won business competitions, but none really seemed to pan out.

Diaz's enthusiasm for pet health and wellness remained steadfast. One day, he found himself driving up to 50 minutes away to ensure his dog received the food the nutritional supplements he needed to remain healthy. Then, in 2009, it was like a lightbulb turned on.

"I was out walking my dog, just thinking about life and all I had to do," recalled Diaz. 

That's when it hit him. Diaz could fulfill this need in his own community by offering a delivery service of these products. 

Within three months, Diaz had a website up and was delivering high-quality nutritious dog food to his neighbors. He immediately gained a supportive list of clientele and created an efficient distribution chain.

By 2011, Animals Crackers was a full-fledged retail storefront selling and delivering dog food and health supplements. Today, the retail shop offers a variety of grooming services and has an established and loyal customer base. 

The energetic and no-nonsense approach Diaz embodies, both personally and professionally, is due in part to his parents. 

"They are as Cuban as they come," Diaz said laughing. "My parents, they are polar opposites. My mother taught me how to hustle, and my father taught me to make sure I do things properly the first time." 

Diaz's mother was born in New York and raised in Cuba. In the 1960s, her family home in Cuba was taken away from them. They lost everything.

"She understood that at any point, no matter what you do, it could all end," explained Diaz. 

The experience she shared with him taught him to never take anything for granted and always share gratitude. 

"My parents instilled a drive within me to get things done and to work hard. But most importantly to remember that families come first. It is all about family."

For Diaz, his retail store is his tool to share his passion, to help educate and spread awareness on how to best treat and feed your furry friends. 

"A healthy lifestyle for your pet is the simplest form of love and care," he shared. 

And for many, pets are another member of the family. When COVID-19 hit, Diaz focused on how to care for pets that are family while keeping the store family together. 

He explained, "When COVID-19 hit, it destroyed us. But my first focus was how I am going to keep my crew together and keep everyone on board." 

Despite the uncertainty, the Animal Crackers retail team immediately sprung into action, offering curbside pick-up and capitalizing on their existing delivery service option. 

"Thankfully, we've been able to stay open and now are back to grooming up to 60 dogs a day," shared Diaz. "But that was not without growing together from the last year as a collective group. Through all our mistakes and successes, we still continue to come up with ways to better ourselves. We don't take anything for granted."

Diaz's passion to continually improve has played into his focus to help revitalize and encourage growth in the downtown Miami retail community. Through Diaz's grit and the hard work he and his partner continue to pour into Animal Crackers, growth has begun to occur. 

"I feel so blessed because I see people coming out and starting to really support the neighborhood community," he shared. "Our street is starting to look really good."

For JJ Diaz, at the end of the day, it is his wife, two children and the pet community he has built that makes him feel most proud. 

"For me, it has always been that level of bond with a dog," he explained. "When I come home from work and to my family, no matter how bad of a day, I know my pet is going to be stoked to hang with me."

Diaz is proud of his Hispanic roots, but he's also incredibly proud to be a part of the growth of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States and their contributions to the American economy.

"The way I see it, Henry Flagler made Miami a resort town, but Hispanics made Miami a regional center of the American economy, as well as a financial center for the Caribbean," said Diaz. "Hispanic business owners’ contributions to local, national and the global economy are only gaining momentum, and all while facing additional barriers, whether be it from cultural and language differences or bias."

In fact, over the past decade, Hispanic Americans are starting businesses faster than the rest of the startup population. According to JP Morgan Chase, Hispanic-owned businesses will make up nearly one-third of American businesses, a significant jump from 17% today. 

Animal Crackers is one of many retail businesses in Florida that you can support while you shop local and "Find It In Florida." Visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram for more information. 

Last year, the Florida Retail Federation launched the "Find It In Florida" campaign to spread public awareness on the importance of shopping locally. When Floridian shoppers "Find It In Florida", they are helping to keep doors open, boost the local economy and support their communities. 

Florida's retailers have continued to take proactive measures during the pandemic to provide consumers with safe access to meet their shopping needs, including safely shopping in stores, curbside pickup and online ordering options.  

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
JULY 27, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Florida retail stores are ready to help families get a jump start on back-to-school shopping. Floridians can save money when shopping for school supplies during Florida’s Back to School Sales Tax holiday that begins Saturday, July 31, and runs through Monday, August 9.

“School supplies are essential to learning and now you can save when you stock up for a new school year,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “Remember to ‘Find It In Florida’ and support your local retailers when checking off the items on your back-to-school lists. Many retail stores are offering additional savings to help you cut costs this year.”

The following items are available for purchase tax-free July 31 – August 9:

  • 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 are already planning ahead for the new school year and will spend record amounts for school and college supplies. About 70% of families plan to start shopping at least three weeks before school begins with average spending of $848.90 per household.

Total back-to-school spending is forecasted to reach $37.1 billion this fall. This can be partially attributed to shoppers expecting to spend more as more students will return to their in-person groups and clubs including sports teams and other extracurricular activities. The top categories for back-to-school and college shopping are electronics with back-to-school sales expected to reach $12.9 billion while college sales will make up $18.1 billion this fall.

There are more than 270,000 retail stores in Florida, and one in five jobs is tied to Florida retail. When shoppers “Find It In Florida" and shop local retailers, they help boost the local economy and support community businesses. Learn more about the "Find It In Florida" program at the website.

“Now is the time to save money when shopping for school supplies,” said Shalley. “We encourage all Floridians to “Find It In Florida” and shop with retailers that employ your neighbors and support your community.”

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 7061 into law on May 21. The legislation was championed by Rep. Bobby Payne and Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, and the tax-free holiday was a priority of Sen. Keith Perry.

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/media-center/press-releases/2021-brings-back-class-shopping-record-levels.

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 28, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Ahead of Florida’s first-ever Freedom Week, the Florida Retail Federation urges families to shop local. Beginning on July 1, Floridians can find cost savings at Florida retailers on a large variety of outdoor and recreational supplies. The tax-free savings of the 2021 Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday includes boating and activity supplies, camping and fishing gear, sporting equipment and entertainment, and more. 

The tax holiday begins this Thursday, July 1, and runs seven days through Wednesday, July 7. 

“The Sunshine State has so much to offer. Now is the time for Floridians to stock up on all the gear they need to enjoy our great outdoors. Florida retailers are ready to assist shoppers and help them save this Freedom Week,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “As Floridians shop for summer, remember to 'Find It In Florida.' When you support Florida retail stores, you’re supporting Florida jobs and Florida families.” 

Beginning Thursday, July 1, Floridians can save on eligible Freedom Week purchases including Florida-related recreational supplies including boating and water activity, camping, fishing, general outdoor supplies and sports equipment. 

The criteria for tax-free savings on boating and water activities include:

  • The first $75 on the price of life jackets and coolers;
  • The first $50 on the price of safety flares;
  • The first $150 on the price of water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards, and recreational inflatable water tubes;
  • The first $300 on the price of paddleboards and surfboards;
  • The first $500 on the price of canoes and kayaks;
  • The first $75 on the price of paddles and oars; and
  • The first $25 on the price of snorkels, goggles, and swimming masks.

Floridians may also enjoy tax-free purchases on the following camping supplies:

  • The first $200 on the price of purchase of tents;
  • The first $50 on the price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves, and collapsible camping chairs; and
  • The first $30 on the price of camping lanterns and flashlights.

Florida shoppers more interested in fishing can find savings on:

  • The first $75 on the price of individual rods and reels; or
  • The first $150 on the price of a set of rods and reels;
  • The first $30 on the price of tackle boxes or bags; and
  • The first $5 on the price of individual bait or fishing tackle; or  
  • The first $10 on the price of multiple bait and tackle items sold together. 

Other recreational savings include tax-free purchases such as: 

  • Up to the first $15 on the price of sunscreen or insect repellant;
  • The first $100 on a pair of sunglasses;
  • The first $200 on a pair of binoculars;
  • The first $30 on the price of water bottles;
  • The first $50 on the price of hydration packs;
  • The first $250 of the sales price of outdoor gas or charcoal grills;
  • The first $50 of the sales price of bicycle helmets; and
  • The first $250 of the sales price of bicycles.

Floridians can also save on equipment used for individual or team sports purposes. This does not include clothing or footwear selling for $40 or less.

Eligible tax-free entertainment events and outings include: 

  • Live music events;
  • Live sporting events;
  • Movies at the movie theater;
  • Entry to a museum, including any annual passes;
  • Entry to a state park, including any annual passes;
  • Entry to a ballet, play, or musical theatre performance;
  • Season tickets for ballets, plays, music events, or musical theatre performances;
  • Entry to a fair, festival, or cultural event; or
  • Access or use of private and/or membership clubs providing physical fitness facilities.

“We are grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and the Florida Legislature for their continued support to help Florida families save money as they enjoy spending time outside of the home this summer,” said Shalley. 

This year’s Freedom Week Tax-Free Holiday was established when Governor DeSantis signed HB 7061 into law on May 21. The legislation was championed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Representative Bobby Payne.

Florida retailers are ready to help shoppers "Find It In Florida" while searching for supplies and products to get outside and enjoy the Sunshine State. When shoppers "Find It In Florida" and shop local retailers, they help boost the local economy and support community businesses. Learn more about the "Find It In Florida" program at the website.

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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