How did small retailers fare this holiday season? It’s too soon to know for sure, but many likely did quite well—at least better than last year.
First Data Corp., which tracks sales at 800,000 stores (including online), reported in mid-December that sales had risen 1.8 percent year-over-year between November 1 and December 15. The National Retail Federation reported earlier this week that it expects holiday shoppers would make a strong finale and that sales would meet its original prediction and rise 4.1 percent over 2013.
However, most major holiday sales forecasts focus on results from large retailers. Small retailers are harder to gauge because they’re so diverse. Yet early reports suggest many small merchants saw sales grow this season.
Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) saw a healthy 14.9 percent uptick in shopper traffic, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express—surely an optimistic sign.
Doug Palmieri, owner of the Old Book Shop of Bordentown in Bordentown, New Jersey told the Burlington County Times that consumers seem more confident spending money this holiday season. “What we find this year is that we have people willing to come in and spend more money,” he said. “Folks have more discretionary income to spend.”
Mike Geisler, a partner at Venture Commercial Real Estate in Dallas, Texas, said 80 percent of the company’s retail tenants—the majority which are independents—have reported that sales are up this holiday season. “A number of them will post their best year ever,” Geisler told The Dallas Morning News.
Geisler said that shoppers seem more interested in finding unique gift items that they can’t find elsewhere—a trend that only helps independent retailers.
Not every small retailer was ready to call this a breakout holiday sales year, however.
Cheri Merenda, co-owner of the Farmers Daughter gift shop at McHenry Village shopping center in Modesto, California, told the Modesto Bee last week that sales had been “pretty good” this season. “We won’t know until everything is totaled,” she said. “It is equal, if not better, than last year.”
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