The Florida Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 3-3.5 percent over last year

In spite of the impacts of Hurricane Irma on Florida, FRF is still predicting a 3-3.5% increase in sales over 2016, thanks to high consumer confidence, robust housing, a 10-yr low unemployment rate and 100+ million tourists

TALLAHASSEE, FL, 2017-Nov-21 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of representing retailers, announced today (November 20, 2017 ) it expects holiday sales to increase 3-3.5 percent over last year, thanks to a healthy economy and a number of positive economic indicators.

“This season should be another strong one for our retail members, thanks to a 10 year low unemployment rate, a strong housing market, high consumer confidence and 100 million tourists leaving with more than what they came with,” said FRF President/CEO Scott Shalley. “Due to the increased competition among retailers, consumers should expect great deals and discounts as they enjoy the annual holiday shopping season with friends and family.”

The impact of Hurricane Irma on Floridians played a significant factor in the final forecast number for FRF. The storm caused damage in major population areas in Southwest Florida, South Florida and the Keys and the Jacksonville area. Many residents are still recovering and possibly unable to spend as much on holiday shopping this year. However, the overall strength of Florida’s economy and the resilience of the state’s retail industry will help make up for this potential loss of sales.

“Hurricane Irma hit our state extremely hard, particularly in these areas, and we factored in this impact in our forecast, but we feel the overall strength of our economy and the incredible recovery efforts that have taken place will help lessen the impact on retail sales this holiday season,” said Shalley.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $967 on gifts, according to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation, which is up significantly from 2016’s average of $935 and higher than the previous record of $952 in 2015. This breaks down to $608 spent on gifts for family, friends and co-workers, $218 spent on decorations, flowers and greeting cards, and $141 spent by the shopper on themselves. Total spending is expected to increase to more than $678 billion, up from $655 billion last year thanks in part to the continued growth and spending of Millennials.

Consumer spending accounts for 75 percent of Florida’s gross domestic product totaling $155 billion each year. In particular, 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. Florida’s retail industry totals more than 270,000 businesses which employ 2.7 million Floridians, and is responsible for one out of every five jobs.

One continued significant advantage that Florida enjoys over most other states is the influx of more than 100 million tourists, almost all of whom leave the state with more than they brought, bringing even more buying power with them. Surveys consistently list shopping as one of the top activities on the agendas of Florida vacations. And 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.

“Tourism continues to be a powerful influence on the success of Florida’s economy and specifically the retail industry, and 2017 is expected to set a new record on number of tourists which is great news for our members,” said Shalley.

Sunshine State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 11th year in a row, followed by clothing and accessories, books, movies or music, electronics, home décor and furnishings and jewelry. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Hatchimals, Toys from the new Star Wars and Justice League movies, Barbies and LEGOS, Nerf toys, and toys from Disney Junior shows.

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.

“Retailers are responding to the demand by consumers to have the holiday shopping experience prior to the traditional late November/December timeframe,” said Shalley. “This is why consumers are already seeing holiday decorations and themes in stores, as retailers try to get shoppers in the Christmas shopping mindset earlier.”

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 500,000-555,000 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 season is a great time for new or returning professionals to enter the workforce as millions of temporary jobs turn into full-time jobs once the holiday shopping season is over,” said Shalley. “We look forward to the thousands of new jobs that families will have this year as a result of Florida’s retail industry.”

Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers — the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.


James Miller

Source: Florida Retail Federation

Lowe’s reports of 3.7 percent net earning increase for quarter ended July 29, 2016 from same period last year

MOORESVILLE, N.C., 2016-Aug-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today reported net earnings of $1.2 billion for the quarter ended July 29, 2016, a 3.7 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 9.2 percent to $1.31 from $1.20 in the second quarter of 2015. For the six months ended July 29, 2016, net earnings increased 14.0 percent from the same period a year ago to $2.1 billion, and diluted earnings per share increased 20.5 percent to $2.29.

The second quarter results include a loss on a foreign currency hedge entered into in advance of the company’s acquisition of RONA, inc. (RONA), which decreased pre-tax earnings for the second quarter by $84 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.06.  The six month period includes a net gain on the settlement of the foreign currency hedge, which increased pre-tax earnings by $76 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.05.

Sales for the second quarter increased 5.3 percent to $18.3 billion from $17.3 billion in the second quarter of 2015, and comparable sales increased 2.0 percent. For the six month period, sales were $33.5 billion, a 6.4 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and comparable sales increased 4.4 percent. Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 1.9 percent for the second quarter and 4.4 percent for the six month period.

“We delivered solid results for the first half of the year, in line with our expectations,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on a favorable macroeconomic backdrop for home improvement in the second half of this year as we continue to execute on our strategic priorities to provide better omni-channel experiences, deepen our relationships with professional customers, and drive productivity and profitability.

“I would like to express my appreciation for our employees’ unwavering commitment to serving customers, enabling us to provide inspiration and support whenever and wherever they shop and positioning Lowe’s as the project authority in our industry,” Niblock added.  “We are also very pleased to welcome RONA’s talented team into the Lowe’s family following the completion of the acquisition on May 20, 2016.”

Delivering on its commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $1.2 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $251 million in dividends in the second quarter. For the six month period, the company repurchased $2.4 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $506 million in dividends.

As of July 29, 2016, Lowe’s operated 2,108 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 211.9 million square feet of retail selling space.

A conference call to discuss second quarter 2016 operating results is scheduled for today (Wednesday, August 17) at 9:00 am ET.  The conference call will be available by webcast and can be accessed by visiting Lowe’s website at and clicking on Lowe’s Second Quarter 2016 Earnings Conference Call Webcast.  Supplemental slides will be available fifteen minutes prior to the start of the conference call. A replay of the call will be archived on until November 15, 2016.

Lowe’s Business Outlook

The company is updating its Fiscal Year 2016 Business Outlook to reflect the impact of the acquisition of RONA, which was completed in May 2016.  There have been no other changes to the Business Outlook presented below.

Fiscal Year 2016 — a 53-week Year (comparisons to fiscal year 2015 — a 52-week year; based on U.S. GAAP unless otherwise noted)

  • Total sales are expected to increase approximately 10 percent, including the 53rd week
  • The 53rd week is expected to increase total sales by approximately 1.5 percent
  • Comparable sales are expected to increase approximately 4 percent
  • The company expects to add approximately 45 home improvement and hardware stores.
  • Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase approximately 50 basis points.1
  • The effective income tax rate is expected to be approximately 38.1%.
  • Diluted earnings per share of approximately $4.06 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 3, 2017.

1 Operating margin growth excludes the net gain on the settlement of the foreign currency hedge entered into in advance of the company’s acquisition of RONA, as well as the impact of the non-cash impairment charge the company recognized in the fourth quarter of 2015 in connection with its decision to exit its joint venture with Woolworths Limited in Australia.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements including words such as “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “plan”, “desire”, “project”, “estimate”, “intend”, “will”, “should”, “could”, “would”, “may”, “strategy”, “potential”, “opportunity” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, expectations, projections, goals, forecasts, assumptions, risks and uncertainties.  Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future financial and operating results, Lowe’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, expectations for sales growth, comparable sales, earnings and performance, shareholder value, capital expenditures, cash flows, the housing market, the home improvement industry, demand for services, share repurchases, Lowe’s strategic initiatives, including those regarding the acquisition by Lowe’s Companies, Inc. of RONA, inc. and the expected impact of the transaction on Lowe’s strategic and operational plans and financial results, and any statement of an assumption underlying any of the foregoing and other statements that are not historical facts.  Although we believe that the expectations, opinions, projections, and comments reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such statements will prove to be correct. A wide variety of potential risks, uncertainties, and other factors could materially affect our ability to achieve the results either expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, changes in general economic conditions, such as the rate of unemployment, interest rate and currency fluctuations, fuel and other energy costs, slower growth in personal income, changes in consumer spending, changes in the rate of housing turnover, the availability of consumer credit and of mortgage financing, inflation or deflation of commodity prices, and other factors that can negatively affect our customers, as well as our ability to: (i) respond to adverse trends in the housing industry, such as a demographic shift from single family to multi-family housing, a reduced rate of growth in household formation, and slower rates of growth in housing renovation and repair activity, as well as uneven recovery in commercial building activity; (ii) secure, develop, and otherwise implement new technologies and processes necessary to realize the benefits of our strategic initiatives focused on omni-channel sales and marketing presence and enhance our efficiency; (iii) attract, train, and retain highly-qualified associates; (iv) manage our business effectively as we adapt our traditional operating model to meet the changing expectations of our customers; (v) maintain, improve, upgrade and protect our critical information systems from data security breaches and other cyber threats; (vi) respond to fluctuations in the prices and availability of services, supplies, and products; (vii) respond to the growth and impact of competition; (viii) address changes in existing or new laws or regulations that affect consumer credit, employment/labor, trade, product safety, transportation/logistics, energy costs, health care, tax or environmental issues; (ix) positively and effectively manage our public image and reputation and respond appropriately to unanticipated failures to maintain a high level of product and service quality that could result in a negative impact on customer confidence and adversely affect sales; and (x) effectively manage our relationships with selected suppliers of brand name products and key vendors and service providers, including third party installers. In addition, we could experience additional impairment losses if either the actual results of our operating stores are not consistent with the assumptions and judgments we have made in estimating future cash flows and determining asset fair values, or we are required to reduce the carrying amount of our investment in certain unconsolidated entities that are accounted for under the equity method. With respect to the acquisition of RONA, potential risks include the effect of the transaction on Lowe’s and RONA’s strategic relationships, operating results and businesses generally; our ability to integrate personnel, labor models, financial, IT and others systems successfully; disruption of our ongoing business and distraction of management; hiring additional management and other critical personnel; increasing the scope geographic diversity and complexity of our operations; significant transaction costs or unknown liabilities; and failure to realize the expected benefits of the transaction. For more information about these and other risks and uncertainties that we are exposed to, you should read the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the description of material changes thereto, if any, included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or subsequent filings with the SEC.

The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. All such forward-looking statements are based upon data available as of the date of this release or other specified date and speak only as of such date. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf about any of the matters covered in this release are qualified by these cautionary statements and in the “Risk Factors” included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and the description of material changes thereto, if any, included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or subsequent filings with the SEC. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, change in circumstances, future events, or otherwise.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving more than 17 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With fiscal year 2015 sales of $59.1 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,355 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 285,000 employees. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. For more information, visit

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SOURCE: Lowe’s