For Immediate Release: February 14, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

FRF hosted press conference today highlighting the importance of passing SB 524 which would allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu and prescribe TamiFlu, helping to save lives

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years in supporting Florida’s retail industry, hosted a press conference today to help shine the spotlight on proposed legislation which would allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu and then prescribe TamiFlu to the consumer, helping to save the lives of those suffering from flu-like symptoms. FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley was joined by Senator Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) and Representative Rene Placensia (R- Orlando) who are both bill sponsors and supporters of this important legislation.

“We want to thank Senator Brandes and Representative Placensia for their leadership in trying to get this crucial legislation passed and for recognizing the important and life-saving role that pharmacists can play in helping to fight the flu,” said Shalley. “It is our hope that the legislature recognizes the error of their ways, realizes the potentially thousands of lives they could be saving by passing this bill and votes yes when it comes back up for a vote.”

There is widespread flu activity from this season’s flu outbreak all across the continental U.S. – something that has not happened in the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s 13 years of tracking the spread of influenza. This year’s flu is also particularly contagious and can be spread more easily just by breathing rather than by coughs and sneezes. For context, a mild flu season tends to kill about 12,000 Americans while a severe flu season kills about 56,000. With thousands of pharmacies throughout Florida, millions of Floridians would have access to healthcare and help with surviving the flu.

This expanded prescribing would come with training and continuing education courses for the pharmacists. Pharmacists seeking to test for and treat the influenza virus must obtain certification through a program approved by the Board of Pharmacy and they must test for and treat the influenza virus within the framework of an established written protocol under a supervising physician. This bill would provide many safeguards to ensure that every pharmacist is qualified, knowledgeable and capable of administering the flu test correctly.

“It’s our hope the legislature will advance both of these bills, and allow people quick access to both knowing they have the flu, while also providing immediate access to the one drug that can help them recover from it,” said Shalley.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating more than 80 years as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers are responsible for 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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Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:37

A Near Record Year of Spending is Expected on Valentine's Day

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For Immediate Release: February 8, 2018 CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $143 per person, with total spending nationally expected to reach $19.6 billion

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 80 years, says consumers are expected to spend an average of $143.56 on Valentine’s Day, an increase from last year’s total of $136.57. Total spending nationally is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion in 2017. These numbers are the second highest on record.

“Florida families are looking forward to showering their loved ones with flowers, candy, and fancy dinners this year, with a near record per person spending average of $143,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We anticipate this being a very prosperous year for retailers focused on Valentine’s Day, as consumers are feeling more confident about their financial situation and willing to spend more to celebrate.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics, this year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $88.98 on their significant other/spouse ($12.1 billion), $25.29 on other family members such as children or parents ($3.5 billion), $7.26 on children’s classmates/teachers ($991 million), $7.19 on friends ($982 million), $5.50 on pets ($751 million) and $4.79 on co-workers ($654 million). Those 25-34 will be the biggest spenders at an average of $202.76.

Those celebrating Valentine’s Day plan to spend $4.7 billion on jewelry (given by 19 percent), $3.7 billion on an evening out (35 percent), $2 billion on flowers (36 percent), $1.9 billion on clothing (17 percent), $1.5 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (15 percent) and $894 million on greeting cards (46 percent). More consumers plan on purchasing candy this year, with 55 percent (up from 50 percent) saying they will give gifts of candy for a total of $1.8 billion.

“Gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event continue to be popular, sought by 42 percent of consumers, but only 24 percent plan to give one. Those 25-34 are the most likely to give such a gift at 41 percent.

Much the same as last year, consumers plan to shop at department stores (35 percent), discount stores (32 percent), online (29 percent), specialty stores (19 percent), florists (17 percent), and local small businesses (14 percent).

Even those foregoing Valentine’s Day festivities won’t be left out. More than a quarter (27 percent) of consumers who are not observing the holiday have an alternative in mind such as treating themselves in some way or getting together with family and friends.

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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For Immediate Release: December 13, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled today in favor of three of Florida’s major business associations – Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce – who filed a lawsuit challenging a minimum wage ordinance passed by City of Miami Beach

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation, Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association all celebrated today’s ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Miami which affirmed a lower court’s ruling invalidating the minimum wage ordinance recently adopted by the City of Miami Beach. The circuit ruling was appealed by the City in March and the ruling denying that appeal was announced earlier today. The three leading business associations originally filed the suit against the 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. Charles Caulkins, James Polkinghorn and Candice Pinares-Baez of the South Florida law firm Fisher Philips LLP represented the business associations in this case.

“This victory today in the district court of appeals is also a victory for businesses,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF President & CEO. “This ruling sets a precedent for all municipalities discouraging them from passing local ordinances which are in direct violation of state law while also negatively impacting their local businesses. FRF and our coalition partners will continue to protect all Florida businesses against any rules or regulations that may impact their ability to be successful.”

“We applaud the court for siding with job creation and against additional government mandates, and for siding with Floridians looking for jobs and small businesses who are creating them. If communities are serious about creating opportunities for higher wages, they should invest in removing barriers to empower entrepreneurs to grow the economic base – produce more and pay more – based on markets and consumer needs,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“We applaud the court’s decision, which should send a message to local governments around the state that, however well intended, each level of government has its limitations on their authority,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

In December 2016, the City of Miami Beach passed a city ordinance raising the minimum wage to $10.31/hour starting January 1, 2018, and increasing 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 state statute allows for local government entities to adopt ordinances to exceed this wage for those working or contracting with the local government. FRF and the business coalition successfully won that lawsuit in March due to a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The City of Miami Beach then filed an appeal in December 2016 with the 3rd District Court of Appeals who announced its decision today in favor of the coalition.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers are responsible for 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.

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 and 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.

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For Immediate Release: November 20, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

In spite of the impacts of Hurricane Irma on Florida, FRF is still predicting a 3-3.5% increase in sales over 2016, thanks to high consumer confidence, robust housing, a 10-yr low unemployment rate and 100+ million tourists

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of representing retailers, announced today it expects holiday sales to increase 3-3.5 percent over last year, thanks to a healthy economy and a number of positive economic indicators.

“This season should be another strong one for our retail members, thanks to a 10 year low unemployment rate, a strong housing market, high consumer confidence and 100 million tourists leaving with more than what they came with,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley. “Due to the increased competition among retailers, consumers should expect great deals and discounts as they enjoy the annual holiday shopping season with friends and family.”

The impact of Hurricane Irma on Floridians played a significant factor in the final forecast number for FRF. The storm caused damage in major population areas in Southwest Florida, South Florida and the Keys and the Jacksonville area. Many residents are still recovering and possibly unable to spend as much on holiday shopping this year. However, the overall strength of Florida’s economy and the resilience of the state’s retail industry will help make up for this potential loss of sales.

“Hurricane Irma hit our state extremely hard, particularly in these areas, and we factored in this impact in our forecast, but we feel the overall strength of our economy and the incredible recovery efforts that have taken place will help lessen the impact on retail sales this holiday season,” said Shalley.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $967 on gifts, according to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation, which is up significantly from 2016’s average of $935 and higher than the previous record of $952 in 2015. This breaks down to $608 spent on gifts for family, friends and co-workers, $218 spent on decorations, flowers and greeting cards, and $141 spent by the shopper on themselves. Total spending is expected to increase to more than $678 billion, up from $655 billion last year thanks in part to the continued growth and spending of Millennials.

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.

One continued significant advantage that Florida enjoys 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 continues to be a powerful influence on the success of Florida’s economy and specifically the retail industry, and 2017 is expected to set a new record on number of tourists which is great news for our members,” said Shalley.

Sunshine State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 11th year in a row, followed by clothing and accessories, books, movies or music, electronics, home décor and furnishings and jewelry. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Hatchimals, Toys from the new Star Wars and Justice League movies, Barbies and LEGOS, Nerf toys, and toys from Disney Junior shows.

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 complete by Black Friday.

“Retailers are responding to the demand by consumers to have the holiday shopping experience prior to the traditional late November/December timeframe,” said Shalley. “This is why consumers are already seeing holiday decorations and themes in stores, as retailers try to get shoppers in the Christmas shopping mindset earlier.”

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 500,000-555,000 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.

“The holiday season is a great time for new or returning professionals to enter the workforce as millions of temporary jobs turn into full-time jobs once the holiday shopping season is over,” said Shalley. “We look forward to the thousands of new jobs that families will have this year as a result of Florida’s retail industry.”

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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