News Releases

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: February 7, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Total sales are expected to dip this year after peaking at last year’s record spending; Jewelry, an evening out at dinner/event, flowers, clothing and candy the most popular forms of gifts

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, says Georgia families will decrease their Valentine’s Day spending slightly this year, which reverses a decade-long trend of increasing spending. The average consumer will spend $136.57 in 2017, down from last year’s record high of $146.84, but total spending nationally is still expected to reach a robust $18.2 billion.

“The slight decrease in spending is understandable given the record-breaking pace Valentine’s Day spending had reached the previous ten years,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “This day is still expected to mean significant revenues for Florida’s retailers as consumers shower their loved ones with gifts, flowers, candy, tickets to events and dinners at local restaurants.”

According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics, starting at an average $119.67 for a total of $16.9 billion in 2007, Valentine’s spending grew most years over the past decade before hitting last year’s record. But the number of people surveyed who plan to celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10 percentage points over the same period from 63 percent in 2007 to 54 percent this year.

This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $85.21 on their significant other/spouse, $26.59 on other family members such as children or parents, $6.56 on children’s classmates/teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers, and $4.44 on pets.

Consumers plan to spend $4.3 billion on jewelry (given by 19 percent of shoppers), $3.8 billion on an evening out (37 percent), $2 billion on flowers (35 percent), $1.9 billion on clothing (19 percent), $1.7 billion on candy (50 percent), $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (16 percent) and $1 billion on greeting cards (47 percent).

Also popular this year are “gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a gym membership or an outdoor adventure. While 40 percent of consumers want an experience gift, only 24 percent plan to give one.

Consumers plan to shop at department stores (35 percent), discount stores (32 percent), online (27 percent), specialty stores (18 percent), florists (18 percent), and local small businesses (15 percent).

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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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