Back-to-school spending to reach $75.8 billion

Back-to-school spending is expected to reach $75.8 billion this year, up from $68 billion in 2015, according to the National Retail Federation.

Associated Press file photo
Associated Press file photo

Families of elementary, middle and high school age children plan to spend an average of $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up 6.8 percent from last year’s $630.36, the federation said.

College students and their families plan to spend an average of $888.71. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, the federation said.

Fourth of July spending to remain flat

Spending for the Fourth of July holiday is expected to remain relatively flat this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The retail group said the average family is expected to spend $71.34 on Fourth of July festivities, essentially unchanged from last year’s $71.23.

“Americans are ready to kick-start summer by enjoying Independence Day with family and friends,” National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether it’s low gas prices or just good weather, more people plan to celebrate this year, and that means more shoppers are online and in stores as they prepare for the festivities.”

A survey conducted on behalf of the retail federation found that more Americans are expected to celebrate the Fourth of July this year, and as a result, total spending for the holiday should grow slightly.

An estimated 214 million people plan to celebrate the Fourth of July, spending a total of $6.8 billion, up 1.4 percent from last year, the federation said.



Deal experts: 4th of July sales bring savings on summer staples

The 4th of July is a great time to stock up on summer staples, including warm-weather clothing, patio furniture and swim suits, according to the bargain hunting experts at

Getty Images
Getty Images

Retailers typically start looking to clear out summer inventory to make room for back to school items around the 4th of July holiday, according to the deal website.

This year, shoppers can expect to find discounts on summer items during 4th of July sales, the website said.

Although patio items will be on sale for the holiday weekend, DealNews said its best to wait to purchase new grills until the end of the summer when prices are at their lowest.

To read more about what to expect from 4th of July sales, click here.






West Palm Beach shop offers summer staycation series

Shoppe 561 in West Palm Beach is offering a series of summer “staycation” classes.

The art, food and fragrance classes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Shoppe 561, 319 Belvedere Road, #4, West Palm Beach. Registration is required. Visit to sign up.

Since opening in 2013, Shoppe 561 has donated over $11,000 to Hope House Florida, a faith-based, state licensed organization, which provides professional care for minor girls victimized by human trafficking. More than 70 artisans showcase their talents both in the studio and on Shoppe 561’s website.

“This is our way of creating part of what people love about travel, the opportunities to learn something new from others who have perfected their crafts,” said Shoppe Owner Janelle Lang. “If you’re in France, you stop in a perfumerie. If you’re in Latin America, you eat from amazing street vendors. If you’re in Italy, you watch artisans make something exquisite. Now, residents and visitors of Palm Beach County can do that right here surrounded by friends and neighbors.”

Class schedule as follows:

Wednesday, June 22, 7-9 p.m.: Intro into Mirror Lettering Mirror Lettering($50 pp). Instructor Carla Hagan will teach participants how to make a beautiful piece for their homes. Create your own design and letter it onto a mirror to take home. All supplies are included.

Thursday, June 23, 7-8:30 p.m.: Summer Entertaining with Avocados ($40 pp). The countdown is on for the opening of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen winner, Clay Carnes’ new venture, Cholo Soy Cocina, opening this summer in West Palm Beach’s Antique Row District. Carnes will teach attendees the art of the Epic Avocado Toast, Perfect Guacamole, Florida mango season inspired Grilled Avocado Wedges with salsa and Avocado Margarita with spiced salt rim.

Wednesday, June 29, 7-8:30 p.m.: What is your Fragrance Personality? ($30 pp) Master Perfumer Elise Pearlstine will talk about fragrances and the science behind creating perfumes and colognes. Elise will suggest a perfume or cologne blend tailored to you and create the blend. Participants will leave with a 1/3-ounce bottle of his or her personal blend.

Thursday, June 30, 7- 9 p.m.: Summer Entertaining: Fresh – Cool – Asian Inspired Snacks ($40 pp)
This second class will be a mix of demonstration and hands on interactive. Each person attending will receive a $10 Cholo Soy Cocina gift card and enjoy a fresh drink sure to please (you choose if it contains alcohol if you are 21 and older). In this class you will learn how to make crispy vegetable and teriyaki chicken lettuce wraps, sesame – ginger shrimp skewers, green papaya and peanut salad with fresh chili, yummy pool side tropical white sangria and sparkling passion fruit fizz.

Thursday, July 14, 7-9 p.m.: Summer Entertaining: Did Somebody Say Fish Taco? ($40 pp)
This final class in the series will be a mix of demonstration and hands on interaction where you will learn how to make the perfect fish taco. Each person attending will receive a $10 Cholo Soy Cocina gift card and enjoy a fresh drink sure to please (you choose if it contains alcohol if you are 21 and older). In this class you will learn how to make delicious Florida inspired shrimp ceviche like a pro (distinguishing the myths behind ceviche); how to buy seafood – where to buy, what to avoid, how to handle; how to make the Mexican inspired – michelada beer cocktail; how to make the Classic 100% THE BEST MARGARITA you will ever have and make for your friends!

Wednesday, August 3, 7-9 p.m.: Wine 101($25 pp)

Can you tell your Cabernet from your Chardonnay? Does speaking to a sommelier intimidate you? Would you like to learn more about wine in general? if so, join Shoppe 561 and VINOUTLET for a Wine 101 class that promises to be fun, informative, and casual. You’ll learn about the basics of wine, taste several different wines to put what you learned into practice, and spend an evening in a relaxed, fun environment.


Deal alert: What to buy in June

If you are in need of tools, clothing or outdoor items, you are in luck.

The deal-hunting website says shoppers can expect to save big on a host of items this month, including power tools, camping gear, yard items, and women’s summer apparel.holidayshoppingap

Several retailers hold semi-annual sales during the month of June, offering deep discounts on a host of items, especially women’s products.

Here are‘s recommendations on what to buy this month:

Dishware and cookware deals just happen to coincide with wedding gift registries, especially “everyday” china and high quality pots and pans sets. Some of these items can be found for up to 50 percent off at Macy’s, Wayfair, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Mikasa and other department stores during the month of June, FatWallet says.

June Semi-annual Sales can offer some of the best savings of the year on a variety of summer items for women, typically 40 percent off or more, according to the website. Stand outs include sales from Victoria’s Secret, Saks 5th Avenue, Lane Bryant and Bath & Body Works, FatWallet said.

Local Deals from sites like Groupon and Living Social can offer significant savings to a variety of summer activities. Whether traveling, staycationing or gifting, local summer savings on average of 50 percent can be had on festivals, skydiving, boat rides, spas, and food at local restaurants and bars, according to the website.

Early 4th of July Sales, which will kick off in the last week in June offer heavy discounting on patio accessories, party decorations, outdoor sports toys and gear, air conditioners, fans and fitness equipment clearance. Hit the big box stores for the best prices, FatWallet recommends.

FatWallet said you can also find deals on a host of Father’s Day items. Expect discounts on these items:

Tools, especially power tools, cordless tool kits, tool storage and automotive tools. tools

Home improvement project needs are featured sale items all month. For Home owners that want to beat the heat, stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears bring their best prices of the year on paints and stains, building materials, hardware, fixtures and tools needed to complete jobs in time to enjoy summer, FatWallet said.

Summer sports and outdoors items see price drops in June, including deep discounting on gear for camping, fishing and golfing at Bass Pro shop, Cabela’s, and Golfsmith. Also, look for weekend sales on yard and pool games and toys at big box and specialty stores.

Men’s clothing will be on sale these first 2 weeks in June, especially summer apparel used for outdoor activities and sports. Stores like REI, Backcountry, LLBean, Patagonia and Duluth Trading have timely deals on quality shirts, shorts and shoes for guys, and gals, who spend their free-time outside, FatWallet said.



The Beef Jerky Outlet to open in West Palm Beach

The Beef Jerky Outlet plans to open its doors in West Palm Beach next month.

Beef jerky
Beef jerky

The national chain, which has 57 franchise locations, including 6 founder-owned stores, plans to open at the Palm Beach Outlets in early June, the company announced Wednesday.

The specialty store offers more than 200 jerky varieties, sizes and flavors.  Specialty meats include kangaroo, alligator, venison and elk, as well as exotic flavors like Moonshine and Cajun.

“I love beef jerky and have been making it for years for our camping, diving, rafting and skiing outings,” said Don Jones, who owns the West Palm Beach Beef Jerky Outlet with his wife Lupe.  “Jerky was a great snack throughout my military career and a big reason why I became interested in the franchise.”


Report: Aeropostale files for bankruptcy; Gardens Mall store to close

Children fashion retailer Aeropostale announced Wednesday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in New York, and plans to close 154 stores in the United States and Canada.

112307 tc biz shop (10 of 12).....0045339A.....Photo by David Spencer/The Palm Beach Post....Jensen Beach......At the Treasure Coast Square Mall early friday, Aéropostale sales associate Ariel Mitchell (cq) trys to lure shoppers into the store by displaying a special teddybear customers can get for free if they purchase $100 worth of merchandise. Mitchell said everything at Aéropostale is priced at 50% off for the next 3 shopping days. Most stores at the Treasure Coast Square Mall opened early at 5am for the traditional "Black Friday" shopping day after Thanksgiving. ...........Photo by David Spencer /The Palm Beach Post......11/23/07
At the Treasure Coast Square Mall, an Aéropostale sales associate tries to lure shoppers into the store by displaying a special teddy bear customers. Photo by David Spencer /The Palm Beach Post (11/23/07)

Store closing sales are scheduled to begin in the United States this weekend, the company said.

The apparel chain has four stores in Palm Beach County. They are located at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, the Mall at Wellington Green and Town Center in Boca Raton. The chain has a factory store at the Boynton Beach Mall.

Areopostale’s Gardens Mall store is one of 6 Florida locations set to close, according to USA Today.

The company operates roughly 800 stores.


Mother’s Day 2016: Palm Beach Outlets offering moms “special treats”

A number of stores at the Palm Beach Outlets will be offering special treats and promotions to mothers on Saturday.

Palm Beach Outlets mall
Palm Beach Outlets mall

The “Mother’s Appreciation Day” event runs from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Participating retailers include Guess Factory, First Watch, Crabtree & Evelyn Outlet, dressbarn, J. Crew | Crewcuts Factory, Perfumania, Soma, Lindt Chocolate Shop, O’Neill, Skechers, Steve Madden and Jockey.

Moms can also register to win a pink Fitbit and gift certificates to the Sari Center for massages, acupuncture and more.

Deal Alert: Here’s what to buy in May

Shoppers can expect to find big savings on travel deals, graduation gifts, and some tech items this month, according to the bargain website christmas shopping 1

Memorial Day sales will offer the biggest savings since Black Friday, FatWallet said.

The deal website has put together the following list of the best items to buy this month:

Many of the top 10 selling fitness tracker/smartwatches are currently seeing holiday-like pricing, especially 2015 wearables which can be gifted at discounts up to 75 percent off.

May 1st signals the “50 days to summer” mark that officially kicks off vacation booking season and perfect timing for deals and savings on summer vacation packages, hotels, vacation rentals and car rental discounts.

Many traditional May sales and discounts can cross-over in to clever savings on graduation/wedding gifts and needs. Summer clothing sales, summer travel deals and Mothers Day deals, especially for smartwatches and smartphones, all apply. TIP: Many retailers offer great discounts when you register your wedding with them.

Besides Black Friday, there may not be a better time to buy big-ticket items for the home. Memorial Day deals last a full 10 days and all the Big Box retailers advertise some of the best discounts of the year on major appliances (30-40% off), mattresses and sets (up to 60% off), and home furnishings, window air conditioners, ceiling fans, grills and patio furniture discounted at 25-50% off.