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Retail Federation expects record-breaking St. Patrick’s Day spending in 2017

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St. Patrick’s Day revelers won’t be the only one’s seeing green this year according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

The retail trade group estimates those celebrating the Irish holiday will spend $37.92 a piece this year, with total spending expected to top $5.3 billion — a significant jump from last year’s $4.4 billion and good enough for a record.

“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 Florida Retail Federation President & CEO Scott Shalley. “Even though St. Patrick’s Day isn’t one of the bigger spending holidays, we still expect Florida retailers to see a nice bump in sales, particularly those who offer additional discounts and sales to attract customers.”

The survey, conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics, predicts more than 139 million Americans will celebrate the holiday this year and that most spending will head toward food, followed by beverages, apparel, decorations and candy.

While the holiday is most popular among the green-beer-drinking 18- to 24-year-old crowd, 25- to 34-year-olds will be the biggest spenders, with the average person in that age range expected to drop $46.55.

Though St. Patrick is revered for driving all the snakes out of Ireland, his holiday is better known for bringing lots of people to bars. According to NRF, 27 percent of those polled will head to watering hole or restaurant, while 15 percent will head to a private party.

The most popular way to celebrate the occasion, however, is wearing green. More than four-fifths of those polled said they plan to dress accordingly, while 31 percent said they would make a special dinner, such as corned beef and cabbage.

The survey also found 15 percent of people plan to attend a parade, with that number buoyed by Northeasterners, 21 percent of whom said they would head to a parade.

The NRF survey contacted 7,609 consumers between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8. It has a margin of error of 1.1 percentage points.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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