For Immediate Release: November 24, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

LEGOs, Barbies and Star Wars remain popular while relative newcomers like Frozen toys, Monster High and Shopkins also make up the most popular

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today the most popular toys for both boys and girls for the 2015 holiday shopping season based on a new survey. The top three most popular for boys were LEGOs, Star Wars-themed toys and cars & trucks. For girls, Barbie, Frozen-themed toys and dolls led the way, with LEGOs appearing in the top 10 of both lists. The survey was conducted by FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation. Overall, the average person is expected to spend $805 on presents this season, a 14-year high.

“Most kids have no problem letting their parents know which toys they want to unwrap by the tree during the holidays, but these lists are helpful for those parents still unsure about what to buy or looking to complete their lists,” said FRF President/CEO Rick McAllister. “We’re excited about what the upcoming shopping season will mean for Florida retailers, as consumers feel more comfortable with spending their hard earned money in celebration of the holidays.”

The top 10 toys this season are:

BOYS GIRLS
1. LEGO 1. Barbie     
2. Star Wars 2. Disney’s Frozen
3. Cars & Trucks 3. Dolls
4. Video Games 4. Monster High
5. Hot Wheels 5. American Girl
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 6. My Little Pony
7. Xbox One 7. Shopkins
8. PlayStation 4 8. LEGO
9. Nerf 9. Disney Princess
10. Marvel Action Figures 10. Star Wars

FRF predicts a busy and successful holiday shopping season for retailers behind the strength of numerous positive economic indicators and a healthy economic climate overall in Florida. FRF is calling for a 4.5 percent increase in sales for Sunshine State retailers, which would outpace the predicted national average of 3.5 percent. This continues a recent hot streak for Florida retailers which included a record-tying 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday period in August and a successful Halloween season.

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 four jobs.

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 three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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For Immediate Release: November 18, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Positive economic indicators and the state’s continued growth means Sunshine State retailers can expect a healthy and successful holiday season

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that Florida retailers are in for a busy and successful holiday shopping season behind the strength of numerous positive economic indicators and a healthy economic climate overall in Florida. FRF is calling for a 4.5 percent increase in sales for Sunshine State retailers, which would outpace the predicted national average of 3.5 percent, or 40 percent higher. This continues a recent hot streak for Florida retailers which included a record-tying 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday period in August and a successful Halloween season.

             

“Florida continues to see a strong increase in its economy thanks to record-setting tourism, increased consumer confidence, a surging real estate market, and a seven year low in unemployment, all of which mean big expectations for retailers this holiday season,” said FRF President/CEO Rick McAllister. “Specifically, increased consumer confidence means increased consumer spending, and confident shoppers like to celebrate the holidays by buying gifts, decorations and food for their family and friends.”

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $805 on gifts, up from 2014, and the highest in the 14-year history of a survey provided by FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation. 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 four jobs.

One major advantage that Florida has over most other states is the influx of more than 100 million tourists, 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 be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching options, hot-selling toys and free shipping, which continues to be one of the most popular requested promotions each year.

“Tourism plays such an important role in the success of our state, and retailers benefit greatly from tourists choosing to spend their hard earned money in Florida, by buying gifts, supplies and mementos of their time here,” said McAllister. “Retailers are responding by offering discounts, free shipping and other services that make the shopping experience easier and even more enjoyable.”

Sunshine State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year which are gift cards, electronics, apparel & footwear, toys & games, and food. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Star Wars Lightsabers and action figures, Shopkins, Paw Patrol toys, and the Guitar Hero Live video game, with Barbies and LEGOs also remaining popular once again. The big ticket items include smartphones and tablets, TVs, video games and video game systems. The stores that will see the biggest increases in 2015 include furniture and home furnishings stores, clothing stores, health and personal care stores and electronics and appliance stores.

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 66 percent starting prior to Thanksgiving.

“People always wonder why retailers roll out their holiday displays and items as early as they do,” said McAllister. “With millions of Floridians starting their holiday shopping in October, it’s important for retailers to respond to those shopping habits, and make sure they’re capturing those customers by providing them with the same memorable shopping experience before Thanksgiving that they would receive after it.”

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 expected to see between 700,000-750,000 seasonal jobs. The increase in hiring and the increase in economic activity during the holiday season have a positive impact on industries outside of just retail.

“Skeptics may point to these holiday jobs as being temporary employment, but every temporary job has the potential to turn into a permanent one and provide someone with a chance to make consistent money for their family,” said McAllister. “Retail still remains the best industry for young, new or returning workers to find employment, learn valuable skills and grow themselves professionally.”

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 three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Immediate Release: November 5, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The Governor’s proposed $1 billion tax cut package will mean significant savings for consumers and reductions in expenses for the state's 270,000 retail businesses

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, is providing its full support for Governor Rick Scott’s proposed tax cut package that he announced today. With more than $1 billion in cuts to a number of different taxes, the Governor’s proposed tax cut package will help stimulate Florida’s economy and continue the positive growth the state has achieved during his term.

“As retail business leaders in this state, we support Governor Scott’s proposed $1 billion tax cut package, specifically the reduction of the business rent tax. We expect to reinvest any savings that we’d enjoy from these tax savings into increased wages, benefits and additional jobs,” said FRF Chair Dan Doyle, Chief Human Resources Officer for Beall’s, Inc. “We look forward to doing our part to support the Governor’s proposed tax cut package when it is considered in the upcoming legislative session.”

Part of Governor Scott’s package focuses on supporting local businesses by proposing to eliminate the corporate income tax paid by retailers and manufacturers statewide as well as a one percent reduction in the business rent tax for all Florida businesses. It also provides relief for consumers by proposing a 9-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday as well as a renewal of the popular 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday.

“By eliminating the tax on business income for Florida manufacturers - big and small, and all Florida retailers, which include many small businesses all across the state - we are putting job creators on the road to success for years to come. I want Florida to be the small business capital of the world. Our state is already home to 500,000 small businesses. The more we can cut taxes – like the one on commercial lease – the more we can grow our small businesses in Florida and further diversify our economy to invest in our future,” said Governor Scott. “Florida is on a roll. Our businesses have added almost one million new jobs over the last four years, but we have more work to do. We can’t only create jobs when the national economy is good. We must cut taxes and diversify our economy so Florida can grow even when the national economy is bad. Florida must compete with Texas, and diversify our economy to guard against another recession.”

“Governor Scott’s $1 billion tax cut package is important to the continued growth and success of Florida, and we thank him for continuing to focus on helping Florida businesses grow and putting money back in the pockets of Florida families,” said FRF President/CEO Rick McAllister. “Cuts for disaster preparedness and back-to-school shopping, plus the business rent tax and corporate income tax will all have a significant positive impact for both business owners and consumers.”

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 three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Immediate Release: October 28, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

McAllister to retire December 31 after leading the organization to unprecedented success; Longtime FRF Executive VP Randy Miller named new President/CEO

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that President/CEO Rick McAllister, who has brought unprecedented success, recognition and prestige to the organization, is retiring at the end of the year, concluding 14 years as FRF’s leader. Veteran FRF Executive Vice President Randy Miller was announced as the new President/CEO, and will start in his new position beginning January 1.

“It has been an incredible opportunity to lead the Florida Retail Federation for the past 14 years, and to meet and learn about the diverse retailers that are so instrumental in the success of our state,” said McAllister. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated staff, and I’m confident that Randy will continue our success as he leads FRF in 2016 and beyond.”

Randy Miller has been with FRF since 2004 where he’s been serving as Executive Vice President. Randy is a former Executive Director of the Florida Department of Revenue and served as an association executive and a government consultant for various law firms prior to joining FRF.

“I’m honored to serve as the new President/CEO, and to follow the legacy set by one of the greatest leaders and advocates the retail industry has seen in Rick,” said Miller. “The respect and influence that FRF currently has not just in Florida but nationwide, positions us for continued growth and success as we continue our goal of supporting our members and strengthening the entire retail industry.”

McAllister is only the fourth person to hold the dual titles of President & CEO in the 78 year history of FRF, and he has also served in the same roles for the Georgia Retail Association for the past three years. Under McAllister’s leadership, FRF increased membership totals to record highs and cemented its reputation as one of the most influential and effective associations in the legislative arena. He was instrumental in securing the partnerships between FRF and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association and the Georgia Retail Association. Also during his tenure, for the first time in the organization’s history, FRF launched a private health care exchange which will allow its members to provide key benefits to their workforce.

“Rick has been instrumental in the growth and influence of FRF, and guided the organization through challenging times and economic conditions. Rick was a true visionary in the retail industry. The board of directors is grateful for all of his contributions and accomplishments, and for his distinguished tenure as President/CEO,” said FRF Board Chairman Sandy Fortin of S&J Sports/Play It Again Sports. “We are confident that FRF is well positioned to continue this growth and influence due in large part to Randy’s extensive expertise, leadership and relationships with key strategic partners, as well as the talented team and resources he has supporting him.”

A native of Louisiana, McAllister has over 40 years of retail, manufacturing, consulting, and association experience. His background includes retail chain store ownership, chief operating officer of a publicly traded retail company, a decade of retail consulting, and presidency of two statewide trade organizations. He came to the Retail Federation from the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, where he also served as President and CEO.

McAllister has a history of building and providing creative leadership to teams of executives and board of directors. He has won numerous awards including Volunteer of the Year for The Family Source of Florida and Campaign Volunteer of the Year for the Big Bend United Way. He served on the Boards of the Florida Retail Federation, Georgia Retail Association, Florida TaxWatch, Council of State Retail Associations, Florida State University’s Center for Retail Merchandising, University of Florida’s Retailing Advisory Board, and Visit Florida.

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 three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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