Media

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

Suni

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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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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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