TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Have you started composing your perfect Christmas shopping list yet?
Floridians are putting together a list that includes more than $50 billion in gifts, according to the Florida Retail Federation.
Stores hope this holiday shopping season will be a little greener, so many are kicking off Black Friday on Thursday night and pulling out the hottest gifts to earn your hard-earned cash.
The Retail Federation predicts Florida's 2012 holiday shopping season will see a 5.2 percent increase in sales over last year. That translates into $58 billion worth of sales, according to Rick McAllister of the Florida Retail Federation.
"$58 billion in sales generate a lot of things. They generate a lot of sales taxes, collected by most retailers. They create a lot of jobs."
McAllister says retailers plan to hire more than 40,000 workers to help with the holiday shopping season.
Electronics, clothes and toys are at the top of the shopping list for many Floridians. The Retail Federation reports the average family will spend $750 on holiday gifts this year -- up slightly from last year.
McAllister warns inventories are not deep, so he's offering you some advice.
"If you see something that is important to you, that is just the thing that somebody asked for, if you see it, buy it. Don't be disappointed when you come back in the week before and it's gone."
More folks will be shopping in their PJ's this year. Online shopping is expected to generate $3 billion in sales, a 15 percent increase from 2011.
McAllister says a lot of folks have already started their Christmas shopping. November accounts for 40 percent of holiday sales, but December 24th remains the busiest shopping day of the year.
And don't feel guilty if you end up buying yourself some gifts while you're out shopping. McAllister says 60 percent of shoppers plan to spend about $140 on themselves.
First Coast News