Tax refunds are for saving, not shopping this year

A growing number of consumers plan to put money they receive from their tax refund into their savings accounts.

The National Retail Federation’s annual Tax Returns Survey found 49.2 percent of those expecting a refund this year plan to save the money rather than spend it right away — the highest percentage in the survey’s history.tax form

“Consumers are boosting their confidence and building their spending power as they set aside their checks from Uncle Sam,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Americans this year see refund season as a time to improve their financial health by using their refunds to get ahead on savings goals, pay down debt and plan for purchases in the future. Money saved is spending potential down the road.”

In addition to savings, 34.9 percent plan of those surveyed plan to use their tax refunds to pay down debt, according to the survey, which was  conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

The survey also found: 22.4 percent will use the refunds for everyday expenses; 11.4 percent plan to book a vacation;  9.2 percent plan to spend on major purchases like a television or car; and 8.3 percent planning to indulge on a purchase like a salon or spa service.

 

This store is opening today at Palm Beach Outlets

Soma, a woman’s lingerie, loungewear and beauty products retailer, is opening a new store today at Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach.Soma_Intimates_Medium

The boutique will offer free, expert bra fittings, the company said in a news release announcing the store’s opening.

“The right bra can change your world in an instant,” says Laurie Van Brunt, Soma’s Brand President. “About 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, affecting their comfort and confidence.” The new Palm Beach Outlets Soma boutique offers
free, expert bra fittings anytime in an intimate environment with the warmest personal service.

he Palm Beach Outlets glows at night,l , February 11, 2014, in West Palm Beach, as the opening nears. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)
he Palm Beach Outlets glows at night,l , February 11, 2014, in West Palm Beach, as the opening nears. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)

The company will hold a “grand opening event” at the Palm Beach Outlets store on March 4.  According to the news release, there will be ” giveaways throughout the day plus special discounts at the boutique.”

RELATED: PB Outlets celebrates second year

“Soma carries 43 bra sizes from 32A-44G, with full coverage, demi, push up, strapless, wireless, unlined, nursing, post-surgical, and more for a complete intimate wardrobe,” the news release said. “Innovations include bras with side slimming and 3-zone support; everyday shaping panties that make panty lines vanish, swimwear with bra cup slimming support, and soft, cooling sleepwear.”

Delray Beach store to donate portion of sales to Autism Speaks

Charming Charlie, a women’s jewelry and accessory retailer,  will donated a portion of the proceeds from sales at its Delray Marketplace on Sunday to Autism Speaks.

072411 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) - WELLINGTON -  The interior of Charming Charlie in the Mall at Wellington Green.
072411 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) – WELLINGTON – The interior of Charming Charlie in the Mall at Wellington Green.

The company said the 10 percent of the store’s proceeds from sales between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be donated to the Palm Beach chapter of Autism Speaks. Shoppers must mention Autism Speaks during check out.

The store is located at 9195 W Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach.

 

This retailer is holding a job fair for its new store in Palm Beach Gardens

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts plans to open a new store in Palm Beach Gardens in April, and the company is looking for employees to fill positions, officials said Thursday.

Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts will occupy the former Tiger Direct electronics store at 3942 Northlake Blvd. instead of moving to a new store that was under construction in the Northlake Commons shopping center. A banner advertises its arrival. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)
Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts will occupy the former Tiger Direct electronics store at 3942 Northlake Blvd. instead of moving to a new store that was under construction in the Northlake Commons shopping center. A banner advertises its arrival. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)

The store will be located in the Northlake Commons shopping plaza, just east of Interstate 95 and south of Nortlake Boulevard.

The retailer plans to hold a two-day job fair next week to find employees to fill positions at the new store. The fair will be held Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 at FL Career OneStop, 3400 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach.  It will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts has three other Palm Beach County stores. Locations are in West Palm Beach, Wellington and Boynton Beach.

 

 

 

 

Local mall to surprise shoppers today with free gift cards; goodies

In celebration of National Random Acts of Kindness Day today, officials at the Boynton Beach Mall will be surprising shoppers with a variety of freebies, including gift cards.giftcards

Beginning at 10 a.m., mall managers will be randomly giving a way a host of items to shoppers including $50 gift cards, beauty gift baskets, handbags, t-shirts, movie passes, complimentary lunches and dinners. The items come from a variety of mall retailer including JCPenney, Youfit Health Clubs, Perfumania, Sephora, LA Leggings, Buca di Beppo, East West Bistro Buffet, Pops Corn and Versace Gelateria Italiana & Gourmet.

“National Random Acts of Kindness Day is an ideal opportunity for Boynton Beach Mall to show appreciation to shoppers and to encourage thoughtfulness and charity in the community,” said Poonam Patel, director of marketing and business development at Boynton Beach Mall. “We’re looking forward to spreading smiles throughout the day and encouraging others to pay the kindness forward.”

In addition to surprising shoppers, Boynton Beach Mall management will also be treating its retailers to sweet treats and coffee, officials said.

Deal alert: Check out these Valentine’s Day freebies and discounts

Are you looking for a deal this Valentine’s Day?

The deal-hunters at Offers.com have put together this list of freebies and discounts centered around the annual holiday. Many of the deals are available now.

 Photo  by Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post
Photo by Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post

Deals include savings at:

Friendly’s: “For a $1 donation, Friendly’s provides restaurant guests with five Valentine’s Day cards, redeemable for a free Friendly’s Single Cone or a coupon booklet with money saving offers on Friendly’s favorites. The campaign runs January 11 through February 13, 2016. ”

Steak ‘n Shake: Free Valentine’s Day milkshake when you buy a $10 gift card.

To see Offers’ complete list, click here.

 

Retail spending to grow by 3.1 percent this year, industry leaders say

Retail sales are expected to grow by 3.1 percent in 2016, the National Retail Federation said Wednesday.shopping2

The forecast is above than the 10-year average of 2.7 percent growth, the national trade group said.

Florida Retail Federation officials said they expect to see a similar, and perhaps stronger, growth in sales for the state’s retailers in 2016.

“Florida’s economy continues to outpace the national economy, thanks to record-breaking tourism, a healthy housing market, high consumer confidence and tax cuts for businesses that have led to an increase in job creation, all of which bodes well for retailers” FRF President/CEO Randy Miller said. “Some of the slowing sales issues that impacted northern states at the end of 2015 didn’t influence retailers in Florida as much, and we expect it to be a successful 2016 for Sunshine State retailers.”

 

Be prepared to spend more on Valentine’s Day

The average shopper is expected to spend nearly $147 on Valentine’s Day this year, up roughly 3 percent from 2015, according to Florida Retail Federation.

Nationally, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to total nearly $20 billion, retail leaders said.

Hoffman's 5 piece truffle
Hoffman’s 5 piece truffle

The top gift this year – candy. Roughly 50 percent of shoppers said they planned to buy sweets for their sweetheart, spending a total of $1.7 billion, according to the Florida organization’s partners at the National Retail Federation.

“Valentine’s Day continues to play a significant role in the bottom line for Florida retailers, as consumers buy gifts to show their affection for their loved ones,” Florida Retail Federation President/CEO Randy Miller said. “With an improving Florida economy combined with low gas prices, and great deals on popular merchandise and meals, we expect retailers and consumers to love this year’s Valentine’s Day shopping season.”

Roughly $4.4 billion will be spent on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items, according to the national federation’s survey, which was conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Another $1.1 billion will be spent on greeting cards.  Nearly half of those celebrating (47.9 percent) are expected to purchase a greeting card this year, the survey found.

The national federation expects shoppers will spend $1.9 billion on roses and bouquets.

And don’t forget your pets. According to the survey, shoppers are expected to spend $681 million to get their pets a Valentine’s Day treat.

See where Harbor Freight opened its new Palm Beach County store

Harbor Freight, a national discount tool and equipment retailer,  has opened a new store along Okeechobee Boulevard just west of Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach.

(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

The store, at 2497 Okeechobee Boulevard, is located in the Westward Shopping Center.

The Westward Shopping Center lost three large tenants — Old Navy, Sports Authority and PetSmart — when the Marketplace area at Palm Beach Outlets opened in late 2014. The 300,000-square-foot Marketplace at the Outlets houses roughly 20 stores, most of which will are national chains and big box retailers, including the recently opened Whole Foods.

Harbor Freight is located in space once occupied by Old Navy.

Last year, Burlington, a national off-price retailer, opened a 55,000-square-foot store at the Westward Shopping Center, filing space vacated by other retailers.

Super Bowl fans to spend more on parties, gear this year

If you are having a Super Bowl party this year, you are probably going to spend a little more on food, supplies, and team gear.

CULVER CITY, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

According to the National Retail Federation, football fans are expected to spend slightly more than they did for the Super Bowl in 2015.

Viewers and partygoers will spend an average of $82.19 on food, décor, team apparel and more, up from $77.88 last year, according to the federation’s Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

» RELATED: 5 best sports bars in Palm Beach County to watch Super Bowl 50

Total Super Bowl-related spending is expected to top $15.5 billion.

“Two great teams going head-to-head and a historic game celebrating the 50th Super Bowl could make this one of the most-celebrated football games we’ve seen in some time,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We expect retailers will be aggressive with promotions on food and decorations as well as athletic wear and electronics in the coming days as they look to entice those planning to watch the Super Bowl.”

An estimated 188.9 million football fans plan to watch the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers battle it out for the Super Bowl 50 championship title on Sunday, up from the estimated 183.7 million who planned to watch last year, the federation said.

“The excitement around the Super Bowl this year should help retailers and restaurants kick off 2016 on a positive track,” Shay said.

Of those watching the game, the federation’s survey found:

  • 34.7 percent say the football game is the most important part of the day (85 million) while 17.7 percent say the commercials are (43.4 million), and another 4.5 percent say enjoying the fun food is the most important for them (11 million);
  • 43.3 million fans are planning to throw a Super Bowl party (17.7%) while another 70 million say they’d rather let their friends and relatives do the hosting and attend one instead (28.6%);
  • 79.8 percent of partygoers and viewers will purchase food;
  • 7.7 percent of Americans are planning to purchase a new television to enjoy the game – (similar to last year’s 8.8 percent), which could amount to an estimated 8.6 million new televisions;
  • 11.1 percent of those planning to watch the game will buy new team apparel and/or accessories – an estimated 20.9 million new items purchased;
  • Nearly eight in 10 (78.6%) Americans say they view the commercials during the Super Bowl as entertainment, while 17.5 percent say they make them aware of advertisers’ brands, and 10.3 percent said they influence them to buy products from the advertisers.