For Immediate Release: May 24, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Record amount expected to be spent on gift cards, greeting cards, apparel and electronics for Peach State graduates

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, says Georgia families will spend more than ever on graduation gifts this year. With more consumers buying for graduates this year – 36 percent compared with 34 percent in 2016 – total spending nationally is expected to reach $5.6 billion, topping last year’s record of $5.4 billion.

“Graduation is a significant achievement in someone’s life as they end one chapter and begin a new one, and recognizing this is important for graduates,” said R. Scott Shalley, GRA President & CEO. “Family and friends are eager to celebrate this important milestone, and we expect the gifts to Peach State graduates to reach record numbers this year, which is great news for Georgia retailers.”

According GRA’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the $5.6 billion total is the highest in the survey’s 11-year history. Cash will once again be the most popular gift, given by 53 percent of those surveyed as they seek to help students with the costly transition from high school to college or college to the “real world.” However, cash gifting is at a survey low in 2017, dropping about 10 percent from highs recorded in 2007 and 2009. Greeting cards follow at 41 percent, gift cards at 33 percent, apparel at 16 percent and electronics at 11 percent.

While ages 18-24 are the most likely to give a gift to graduates (at 48 percent), they maintain the smallest budgets at $78.42. The biggest spending is likely to come among parent-age 45-54-year-olds at $119.84 as well as those in the grandparent bracket of 65+, who plan to spend an average $112.34.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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For Immediate Release: May 10, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the voice of Georgia retailing for more than 50 years, is expecting record breaking spending for moms in 2017. Mother’s Day shoppers will shower their mothers by spending an average of $186.39—up significantly from last year’s $172.22 average. Total spending on this year’s holiday is expected to reach $23.6 billion.

“We are extremely encouraged by the record high projections for Mother’s Day shopping this year. The retail industry continues to be reassured by a strengthening economy and, as this survey shows, increasing consumer confidence,” stated R. Scott Shalley, CEO and President of the Georgia Retail Association. “Our retailers continue to rise to meet the demands of their consumers and that will be no different this year as they prepare for this exciting and busy shopping holiday.”

According to GRA's partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, this year's per person spending is the highest in the survey’s 14-year history. Consumers plan on spending $5 billion on jewelry, $4.2 billion on special outings such as dinner or brunch, $2.6 billion on flowers, $2.5 billion on gift cards, $2.1 billion on clothing, $2 billion on consumer electronics, and $1.9 billion on personal services. The most significant increases from last year are in jewelry spending, which is up 19%, and personal services which are up 15%.

The survey also found a difference in shopping habits based on the age of both the consumer as well as the recipient. For example, “gifts of experience,” such as tickets to a concert continue to be on the rise with 28% desiring such gifts and nearly half of the consumers surveyed under age 35 plan on giving such a gift. According to the survey, 35% of consumers will head to department stores, and 31% will shop at specialty stores such as florists, jewelers, or electronic stores, while 24% will shop at a small local business. As for online shopping, the survey found that 30% of consumers are expected to shop online, which is up from 27% last year.

The survey asked 7,406 consumers about their Mother’s Day plans and was conducted April 4-11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCIATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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 Sates 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, retails is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

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Friday, 07 April 2017 15:13

GRA 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up

GRA and GhFA are celebrating the conclusion of another session where significant progress was made in strengthening Georgia’s retail industry, with eight GRA-supported bills passing. I am excited to report that we advocated successfully on your behalf on a number of diverse issues important to the growth and continued success of your business and our industry.

The following is a list of bills of interest. I want to thank you for your membership and support of our efforts to protect your business and its continued growth. We look forward to continuing our efforts in ensuring the Georgia retail industry remains robust.


Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday & Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday
Unfortunately, we were unable to revive this bill due to the Ways & Means Chairman being against it.

Result
Failed.


SB 201 | Paid Sick Leave
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Brian Strickland

Summary
Relating to general provisions relative to labor and industrial relations, so as to allow employees to use sick leave for the care of immediate family members. Result Passed, unfortunately. This bill is on the way to the Governor for his signature. We have discussed with the Governor’s leadership team about the possibility of a veto, but it seems unlikely at this time. There was a provision added to sunset the bill on July 1, 2020.


HB 405 | Emergency Reentry
Sponsored by: Representative Bill Hitchens and Senator Ben Watson
Summary Relating to the emergency powers of the Governor, so as to require the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to establish a state-wide system to facilitate the transport and distribution of essentials in commerce during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. This bill will allow for permits to be issued to businesses in advance of a disaster to allow for easier re-entry. This is on par with South Carolina and Florida’s laws as well. Result
Passed!


SB 200 | MedSync
Sponsored by: Senator Chuck Hufstetler and Representative Darlene Taylor

Summary
Relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for synchronizing all patients' chronic medications. This bill was originally focused on chronic medications but GRA worked hard to expand it to ALL medications.

Result
Passed!


HB 243 | Scheduling Preemption
Sponsored by: Representative Bill Werkheiser and Senator Marty Harbin

Summary
Relating to minimum wage law, so as to preempt local government mandates requiring additional pay to employees based on schedule changes.

Result
Passed! Georgia will now be one of the few states to pass this important business-friendly legislation.


SB 242 | Pharmacy Clinics Protocol
Sponsored by: Senator Renee Unterman and Representative Sharon Cooper

Summary
This is a clarification in the law relating to delegation of certain medical acts to advanced practice registered nurses, so as to provide an exception to the number of advanced practice registered nurses with which a delegating physician can enter into a protocol agreement at any one time for nurses in certain locations under certain conditions.

Result
Passed!


SB 121| Nalaxone Standing Order & Dispensing
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Trey Rhodes

Summary
Relating to pharmacies, so as to provide that the state health officer may issue a standing order permitting certain persons and entities to obtain opioid antagonists under the conditions the state health officer may impose.

Result
Passed!


HB 342 | Enterprise Zones
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Chuck Efstration

Summary
Relating to enterprise zones, so as to provide that certain urban redevelopment zones may be designated as enterprise zones; to provide for a sales tax exemption in such enterprise zones.

Result
Passed!


HB 481 | Drone Preemption
Sponsored by: Senator Brandon Beach and Representative Kevin Tanner

Summary
Relating to general provisions regarding aviation, so as to provide for preemption for unmanned aircraft systems.

Result
Passed!


HB 206| Pharmacy Bill of Rights
Sponsored by: Senator Hunter Hill and Representative Trey Kelley

Summary
"The Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights," so as to remove an exception relating to certain audits conducted by the Department of Community Health; to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide that clerical or other errors do not constitute a basis to recoup payments made by providers of medical assistance.

Result
Passed!

Wednesday, 05 April 2017 16:13

Easter Expected to Bring Record Spending

For Immediate Release: April 5, 2017 CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Consumers expected to spend more than ever before this year, averaging $152 per person; Food, clothing, candy, flowers and decorations lead the way in popularity

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, says Georgia families will increase their Easter spending to record levels this year, with the per person average expected to top $152, up four percent from 2016. The total expected to be spent nationally is $18.4 billion, up six percent from last year’s record of $17.3 billion and the highest in survey history.

“With Easter falling almost an entire month later than last year, that means warmer weather and more people in the mood to spend money to celebrate,” said GRA President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “This is great news for Peach State retailers, and with more consumers spending more money, we expect stores to be busy in the days leading up to Easter.”

According to the survey, which was conducted by GRA’s national partners at the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $5.8 billion on food (purchased by 87 percent of shoppers), $3.3 billion on clothing (50 percent), $2.9 billion on gifts (61 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (89 percent), $1.2 billion on flowers (39 percent), $1.1 billion on decorations (43 percent) and $788 million on greeting cards (48 percent).

The 50 percent of consumers planning to buy clothing is up from 45 percent last year and is the highest level in a decade while the $3.3 billion expected to be spent is up 9 percent from last year.

With shopping lists in hand, 58 percent of consumers will head to discount stores, 46 percent will go to department stores and 26 percent will shop at local small businesses. In addition, 27 percent will shop online, up from 21 percent last year. Among smartphone owners, 28 percent will research products on their devices while 18 percent will use their phones to make a purchase, while another 9 percent will use apps to do their research or purchase products.

Consumers plan to celebrate Easter in several different ways: 61 percent will visit family and friends, 57 percent will cook a holiday meal, 52 percent will go to church and 17 percent will go to a restaurant. Children will have plenty to look forward to after the Easter Bunny arrives: 35 percent of consumers will have an Easter egg hunt and 16 percent will open gifts. In addition, some consumers will celebrate with more leisurely activities: 43 percent will watch TV, 10 percent will shop online and 9 percent will head to the movies or shop in a store.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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For Immediate Release: March 10, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Spending expected to exceed previous records, totaling $5.3 billion nationwide; Per person spending to reach almost $38

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, announced today that spending for St. Patrick’s Day is expected to reach a record of $37.92 per person this year, which would set a record. The total amount spent nationally is expected to top $5.3 billion, up significantly from last year’s total of $4.4 billion.

“We continue to see spending on holidays and celebrations reaching or exceeding record highs, which reinforces the strength of our economy and the confidence that consumers feel,” said GRA President & CEO Scott Shalley. “Even though St. Patrick’s Day isn’t one of the bigger spending holidays, we still expect Georgia retailers to see a nice bump in sales, particularly those who offer additional discounts and sales to attract customers.”

According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, spending for St. Patrick’s Day is expected to reach $5.3 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 13-year history. More than 139 million Americans plan to celebrate the Irish holiday, and are expected to spend an average of $37.92 per person, up from last year’s $35.37 and a new record that tops the previous record of $36.52 set in 2015. The $5.3 billion total is up dramatically from last year’s $4.4 billion and tops the previous record of $4.8 billion set in 2014.

According to the survey, 83 percent of celebrants will wear green to show their Irish pride, 31 percent plan to make a special dinner and 27 percent will head to a party at a bar or restaurant. Twenty-three percent will decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme and 15 percent will attend a private party. In addition, 15 percent are planning to attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade, especially those living in the Northeast (21 percent).

The survey found that 52 percent of celebrants will purchase food, 41 percent beverages, 28 percent apparel or accessories, 22 percent decorations and 14 percent buy candy. Of those making purchases, 39 percent will go to grocery stores, 29 percent to discount stores, 21 percent to bars/restaurants and 18 percent to department stores.

The holiday is most popular among individuals 18-24 years old, with 77 percent celebrating, but those 25-34 will be the biggest spenders at an average $46.55.

The survey, which asked 7,609 consumers about their St. Patrick’s Day plans, was conducted February 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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For Immediate Release: February 9, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Shalley to head the state’s premier retail trade association after leading the Florida Association of Counties; Current President/CEO Randy Miller to retire

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ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, announces the hire of a new President/CEO to lead the organization. Scott Shalley was chosen to lead GRA, as well as its sister organization the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), after a nationwide search. Shalley replaces current President/CEO Randy Miller who is retiring.

“We’ve been truly fortunate to have incredible leaders and visionaries to guide GRA in recent years, and we feel strongly that Scott has the experience in business development, association management and government affairs to step right in and make an immediate impact,” said FRF Board Chair Dan Doyle. “I want to thank Randy for the extremely important role he has played in making sure that he is leaving GRA and FRF in capable hands, and we know that the leadership team we have in place will be a tremendous asset to Scott as he takes our organizations to the next level.”

“I am honored and excited to lead the Georgia Retail Association and work with the top notch staff and dedicated board members” said Shalley. “I look forward to advocating on behalf of Georgia's 150,000 retailers to ensure the industry remains robust and that our member businesses continue to grow and succeed.”

Shalley comes to GRA & FRF from the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) where he served as Executive Director since 2015. Prior to that role, he served as Enterprise Director since 2012. As Executive Director, Shalley led an organization of Florida’s 67 member counties and 377 county commissioners, and managed a staff of 28. Prior to his time at FAC, Shalley was Executive Director of the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida) before joining the Figg Engineering Group as Vice President/Director of Business Management. He was at Figg for seven years, until moving to (FAC) in 2012.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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For Immediate Release: January 31, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Georgia residents expected to spend heavily on food, drinks and decorations this year for Super Bowl LI, celebrating the unofficial end to another football season

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, says Georgia families will spend an average of $75 per person to watch Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots next weekend. The average cost per person is down slightly from last year’s number with total spending nationally expected to reach $14.1 billion.

“Georgia families love football, and with the Super Bowl being the final game of the year, we expect fans to celebrate the end to great seasons in both professional and college football,” said GRA President & CEO Randy Miller. “The Super Bowl is truly a must-see event whether they follow the sport closely or not, and we expect local consumers to load up on food, drinks and decorations for their game watching parties.”

According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, of the 76 percent of those surveyed who plan to watch the game, 80 percent say they will purchase food and beverages, 11 percent will buy team apparel or accessories, and 8 percent will splurge on new televisions to watch the game at home.

According to the survey, the 45 million people hosting a Super Bowl party should expect a full house, with 27 percent of those surveyed planning to attend a party to celebrate the big game. Bars and restaurants can also expect a good turnout with 12.4 million people planning to head out to watch at their favorite local spot.

Over 43 percent of viewers say the most important part is the game itself, 24 percent cite the commercials, 15 percent want to hanging out with friends, and 12 percent of say the half-time show is their top highlight.

The survey also found that 78 percent of viewers watch the commercials for entertainment and 18 percent say they make them more aware of the advertiser’s brand, but only 10 percent say the commercials influence them to purchase products. Sixteen percent say advertisers should save their money and pass the savings along to the consumers, and 10 percent say the commercials make the game last too long.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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: November 17, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, Communications Director | (321)229-9266 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ruel Joyner of 24e.Deisgn in Savannah, Linda Lombardi or Phillips Furniture and Susan Costa of Hillsdale Furniture were selected as 2016 GRA Retailers of the Year

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, is proud to recognize three Georgia business leaders for their contributions to the state’s retail industry and their communities. Ruel Joyner of 24e Furnishings in Savannah, Linda Lombardi of Phillips Furniture in Warner Robbins, and Susan Costa of Hillsdale Furniture were all selected for different Retailer of the Year awards. Lombardi and Costa were selected on behalf of the Georgia home Furnishings Association (GhFA), which is a division of GRA.

“As the voice of retailing in Georgia, we’re proud to recognize three industry leaders who have made a difference and serve as examples for what retailers do for this state,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “These winners are representative of the talented, passionate and hard working professionals that make retailing such a great industry to be a part of.”

This is the second year in a row that GRA has presented Retailer of the Year Awards, which recognize outstanding retailers who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to their employees, customers and communities. This year’s winners were nominated by their peers and were carefully chosen by a selection committee based upon their outstanding commitment to not only their work and their industry also to their association.

Ruel Joyner | 24e. Design Furnishings – 2016 GRA RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Ruel Joyner is the owner and operator of 24e.Design furnishings located in the Historic District in Savannah. The offerings in 24e range from well-known brands to local artistry, and the store is a haven for the repurposed enthusiast. Ruel is a local community advocate who spends a great deal of his time and energy giving back, through his involvement with many downtown associations and small business groups, as well as supporting and donating to local charity events. Ruel Joyner is everything that a retailer should be: committed to his business, his customers and his community.

Linda Lombardi | Phillips Furniture – 2016 GHFA RETAILER OF THE YEAR
For over three decades, Phillips Furniture has furnished homes and businesses from all over Middle Georgia and currently has three stores in the Warner Robins region. The original store opened in 1983, and Linda has expertly utilized social media to drive traffic and interest to her store in recent years. Linda was also recognized for her commitment to customer service and her desire to personally handle every service issue.

Susan Costa | Hillsdale Furniture – 2016 GHFA REP OF THE YEAR
Susan is a very diligent and customer service oriented representative at Hillsdale Furniture for over 16 years. Her knowledge of the industry and professional interactions with retailers and sales associates are well known throughout the industry.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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For Immediate Release: November 15, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

With Georgia’s economy continuing to strengthen and more residents feeling good about their own economic situation and willing to spend money, the holiday shopping season looks bright for retailers

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, announced today that the upcoming shopping season looks very bright for Georgia’s retailers. Thanks to a state economy that continues to grow, more residents employed thanks as evidenced by a low unemployment rate and increased consumer confidence, which means more consumers feeling comfortable about spending money, GRA is predicting a successful holiday shopping season for Peach State retailers.

“Georgia’s economy remains strong, plus a low unemployment rate and increased financial confidence among consumers should lead to a successful holiday shopping season for our 121,000 retailers statewide,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “Smart and savvy retailers will seize on this positive momentum by incorporating discounts, sales and other perks to stand out from the crowd this season.”

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $935 on gifts, which is down slightly from 2015’s average of $952 according to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation, but the total spending is expected to increase to more than $655 billion, up from $630 billion last year thanks to the continued growth and spending of Millennials. 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. Georgia’s retail industry totals more than 121,000 businesses which employ 1.3 million Georgians, and is responsible for one out of every four jobs.

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.

Peach State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 10th year in a row, followed by apparel and footwear, toys and games (not including apps or video games), men’s and women’s accessories, cosmetics and fragrances, and electronics. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Nerf items, LEGOS, toys from Disney Junior channel cartoons, microphones, drones and merchandise from two movies expected to drive millions to the theaters: Trolls and Star Wars: Rogue One. The big ticket items include smartphones and tablets, TVs, video games and video game systems. The stores that will see the biggest increases in 2016 include health and personal care stores, building material, garden equipment and supply 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 29 percent complete by Black Friday.

“Shoppers shouldn’t be surprised to see Christmas decorations already up in stores, as retailers want to give that festive and fun holiday shopping experience to those consumers who want to complete their shopping early,” said Miller. “Retailers continue to respond to what their customers want, which is to see Saint Nick and holiday themes in their favorite stores in November and even October.”

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 640,000-690,000 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 shopping season means tens of thousands of jobs for Georgia residents, and much needed income for families this time of year,” said Miller. “Every temporary job has the possibility to turn into a permanent one, and retail still remains the best industry for young, new or returning workers to find employment, learn valuable skills and grow themselves professionally.”

Shoppers will spend around $935 per person this year, and this breaks down to:

  • $590 on gifts for family, friends and co-workers
  • $207 on decorations, flowers and greeting cards,
  • and $140 on themselves.

The top five categories for items being purchased this year are:

  • Gift cards
  • Apparel and footwear
  • Toys and games (not including apps or video games)
  • Men’s and women’s accessories, cosmetics and fragrances
  • Electronics

The most popular toys this holiday season include:

  • Trolls dolls and figurines
  • Hatchimals
  • Nerf items
  • Legos
  • Disney Junior cartoon merchandise such as Paw Patrol and PJ Masks
  • Microphones
  • Shopkins
  • Drones
  • Star Wars: Rogue One movie merchandise

Online sales are forecast to increase between 7 and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion. Top 5 reasons a consumer chooses a store:

  • Sales or discounts
  • Quality of merchandise
  • Selection
  • Free shipping or shipping promotion

Nationally, the industry is expected to see between 640,000-690,000 seasonal jobs, which is in line with last year’s total.

For the tenth year in a row, gift cards are the most popular requested and given holiday gift, with 61 percent saying they would like to receive gift cards.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.

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During the recent Fall Meeting and Retail Summit, Linda Edwards, Esq., a member of the Employment & Labor team of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, hosted a session focused on the recent federal Department of Labor overtime regulations to clarify the issue for members and what it could mean for your business. We felt her presentation, and the implications on Georgia businesses, were important enough for us to record and share with our entire GRA membership. So below is a link to her comments, powerpoint and questions from membership. We hope you’ll find this helpful as you prepare your business accordingly:

What is covered?

  • The Major provisions of the FLSA
  • How to properly classify employees
  • Major misconceptions about the FLSA
  • Best practices for complying with existing and new rules
  • The benefits of an proactive FLSA audit.

Contact Us

+1(678)401-6061
Jake Glos
Georgia Retail Association
245 N Highland Ave NE
Suite 230-290
Atlanta, GA 30307-1909
jake@georgiaretail.org