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Local retail numbers steady

Local retail numbers steady
Local retail numbers steady
Customers line up Thursday morning, Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, with returns at Walmart in Corydon. Walmart slashed many of its prices, making the day a big one for shoppers. Photos by Ross Schulz (click for larger version)

While the national holiday sales numbers failed to match those from the previous year, local businesses did not have the same problem reporting strong sales similar to a season ago.
A couple of the Corydon Walmart Supercenter departments ‘ automotive and sports, fitness and outdoors ‘ reported strong sales but did not yet have figures compared to last season.
‘A lot of gift sets sold over the holidays,’ Hope Small, automotive department manager, said. ‘The car care sets in particular sold well.’
Doug Barnette, in outdoors, said he thought gun and ammo sales were strong, similar to previous years.
Walmart continued to try to entice shoppers into its store the day after Christmas with items marked 25 to 50 percent off.
In downtown Corydon, Town Square Gallery employee Chelsea White said it was a good holiday season for the store. The most popular item sold was, no doubt, Pandora jewelry, she said.
Across the town square at Hickman Flowers, Anita Magill said it was a pretty good year for sales.
‘The fresh flowers are always popular,’ she said.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent about $1.7 billion less on holiday shopping than they did in 2012 during the course of Thanksgiving weekend, and similar numbers are expected for the month of December.
‘There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,’ Matthew Shay, chief executive of the retail federation, said. ‘So, in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.’
The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, accounts for 20 to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales, according to the federation.
And the season was shorter in 2013, with a late Thanksgiving.
Actual sales of holiday items increased 2.3 percent compared to the previous year, according to The Wall Street Journal, but retailers got there by lowering prices, continuing a reliance on discounts.
‘I think we’ll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand,’ Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, said.
The continuing slow economic recovery contributed to slow consumer demand combined with the shorter season made it difficult to have strong sales figures this past holiday season.