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Retailers expect record breaking sales during back-to-school tax holiday

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The Florida Retail Federation expects Sunshine State stores to make a bundle during the back-to-school sales tax holiday in August.

A survey conducted by FRF’s parent organization, the National Retail Federation, estimates U.S. retailers will pull in a total of $83.6 billion in revenue during the tax-free holidays in Florida and other states.

NRF also said families with children in K-12 schools will spend nearly $30 billion of that total with the average family shelling out $687.72, an increase of 8 percent over the 2016 average.

“We are looking forward to another successful Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, and applaud Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the significance it has on our hardworking families and the 270,000 retailers throughout the State of Florida,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley in a news release. “Each year, shoppers show up in record numbers and provide a tremendous economic boost overall to retailers’ sales numbers while they are able to afford more of the supplies they need.”

Florida’s back-to-school tax-free weekend will run from Aug. 4 through Aug. 6 and will include most school supplies $15 or less, clothing, shoes and accessories under $60 and computers and related accessories under $750. More information on qualifying items is available from the Florida Department of Revenue.

NRF expects retailers nationwide to sell $10.2 billion in clothing, $8.8 billion in electronics, $5.6 billion in shoes, and $4.9 billion in school supplies such as pens, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes.

Overall, school supplies look to be the most popular purchase, with 97 percent of consumers saying they are on their shopping list. More than nine out of 10 shoppers also plan to purchase clothes and shoes, while 60 percent of those polled said they would purchase electronics.

Of those browsing for electronics, nearly half said they were looking to purchase a laptop, while a little over a third said they planned to purchase a tablet or a calculator, and about a quarter said they would pick up accessories such as a mouse or flash drive.

Parents also said they would spread out their purchases across a wide variety of stores. Department stores will get a sale from 57 percent of shoppers, followed by discount stores at 54 percent, and clothing stores and online retailers at 46 percent a piece. About a third of shoppers said they would swing buy office supply stores such as OfficeMax or Office Depot to pick up school supplies.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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