Media

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 3, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Average Georgian expected to spend almost $83 this year on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes for a nationwide total of $8.4 billion

Suni

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to set an all-time high with the average person spending almost $83, up from $74 in 2015. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion up from $6.9 billion last year.

“More families are making a bigger deal out of Halloween each year, with consistent increases in per consumer spending, which should make for frighteningly good sales figures for retailers this month,” said GRA President and CEO Randy Miller. “Savvy Georgia retailers will utilize sales and discounts on top of the increased consumer interest to help spur even more sales and separate themselves from their competitors."

According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).

When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), carve a pumpkin (46 percent), throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pet(s) in costume (16 percent).

Searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent). Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).

When it comes to where consumers will shop for the season, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items this year and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween/costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers will visit grocery stores/supermarkets, 23 percent will visit department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 6-13 and 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.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 7, 2016

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

Georgia’s premier retailing and home furniture advocacy organizations seek nominations, with winners being recognized during ceremony at GRA Fall Meeting in October

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, and the Georgia home Furnishings Association, the state’s leading home furnishings retail association, are now accepting nominations for the prestigious Georgia Retailer of the Year and Georgia Home Furnishings Rep of the Year awards, which recognize outstanding retailers for sound business practices, and a commitment to their employees, customers and communities. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, September 23. Winners will be announced during GRA’s 2016 Fall Meeting taking place October 11 at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation. Nominations should be sent to GRA State Director Jake Glos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or faxed to (850) 561-6625.

“Georgia has more than 120,000 retailers who are all making significant contributions to the industry and their communities, and we want consumers’ help in identifying two retailers who epitomize the great work these businesses are doing,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “I encourage shoppers to nominate their favorite retailer and shine the spotlight on how they’re making a positive impact on their community and their customers.”

This is the second time 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. Last 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. The 2015 winners were:

Representative Jason Shaw | Georgia Olive Farms
Steve Mathews | Mathews Furniture
Bill Harrison | Bernhardt Furniture

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: July 25, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, Communications Director | (321)229-9266 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The popular sales tax holiday takes place this weekend, July 30-31; Families and students encouraged to take advantage of this annual tax free shopping opportunity

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, reminds Georgia residents that the annual back-to-school shopping season takes place this weekend, July 30-31. This annual tax free weekend allows Peach State families to save on vital supplies, clothes and technology to prepare their children for the upcoming year. The average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.

“The back-to-school sales tax holiday is something that all Georgia families, students and even business professionals look forward to, to save money on the clothes, supplies and items they need for school or work,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “With more than 120,000 retailers in Georgia prepared for this popular weekend, we’re excited about the increased sales for businesses and the important savings for consumers.”

The holiday means big savings for shoppers and big business for retailers, which has become the second largest shopping weekend after Black Friday. As part of the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on back-to-school items including clothing and shoes priced at $100 or less, computers and accessories $1,000 or less, and school supplies less than $20 per item. Families with school-age children spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics to get ready for the school year.

K-12 Spending
According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.

The numbers follow a pattern in which spending often increases one year as families stock up on supplies only to drop off the next as they get a second year out of longer-lasting items like backpacks or computers. Spending then increases in the third year once children outgrow clothing or items need to be replaced.

According to the survey, K-12 consumers plan to spend $9.54 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent), $8.27 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (57 percent), $5.12 billion on shoes (94 percent) and $4.37 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (96 percent). Parents say they will spend an average $235.39 on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes and $107.76 on school supplies.

While discount stores continue to be the choice of the largest share of shoppers at 61 percent, the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. But 46 percent of parents said they would shop online, a dramatic jump from last year’s 36 percent. The vast majority of online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping (89 percent of those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (54 percent).

Bigger Kids, Bigger Bills
College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.

The survey found college consumers plan to spend $11.54 billion on electronics (purchased by 50 percent), $7.49 billion on clothing (70 percent), $6.23 billion on dorm furnishings (43 percent), $5.78 billion on food items (69 percent), $4.26 billion on personal care items (72 percent), $3.84 billion on shoes (67 percent), $3.53 billion on school supplies (81 percent), $3.14 billion on gift cards (36 percent) and $2.7 billion on branded collegiate gear (49 percent). Spending on electronics will average $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, school supplies $64.64, gift cards $57.54 and branded gear $49.41.

Discount stores still account for the largest share of college shopping, visited by 44 percent of consumers, but the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. Only 34 percent will visit a college bookstore, also a new low. Online shopping is the choice of 38 percent of shoppers, down from 39 percent last year and a peak of 45 percent two years ago.

The survey of 6,809 consumers asked about both back-to-school and back-to-college plans was conducted June 30-July 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

As part of a recent study from The Washington Economics Group, the back-to-school sales tax holiday has the potential to increase economic activity in Georgia by at least $475.8 million. The same study estimates the tax holiday generates an additional $182.2 million in wages.

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 18% of Georgia's gross domestic product.

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Contact Us

+1 (706) 202-9308
Thomas Beusse
Georgia Retail Association
1750 Powder Springs Rd, Ste 190
PMB 275
Marietta, GA 30064
thomas@georgiaretail.org