“Club of Knowledge Hunters”

Retail therapy: Check in here before you check out

Posted by superstar23 on November 2, 2008

You’ve probably gone shopping for Halloween candy and costumes only to see that your favorite retailer has already set up Christmas trees and music boxes that blare your favorite (or not-so-favorite) Christmas carols.

So while you savor the goodness of candy corn and stuffed turkey, I’ll be writing this reporter’s notebook each Friday through the holiday shopping season, with news and notes from the local and national retail scene. So here’s a look at what’s going on and what you (and your credit card) can expect:  * Forget next month’s election; Steve Goodwin thinks the holiday retail season will be one for the ages, especially for small businesses. Goodwin owns Steve Goodwin The Haberdasher, an upscale men’s clothing store in downtown Yakima. He believes independent businesses have the opportunity to attract customers by offering personalized service and stocking distinct and interesting items.

Although gas prices are decreasing, Goodwin expects more shoppers to stay local rather than drive to Seattle and Portland. “When your business is tough, that’s when you’re pro-active, you implement things, and you do things that customers want,” he said. So instead of purchasing for volume, which he thought would result in excess inventory, he decided to buy clothing that will draw customers’ attention.

“I’m going to challenge my customers,” he said. “If they’re looking for something different, we got it. And that’s what people want.”  * Shoppers got a taste of the chaos that comes with shopping the day after Thanksgiving at Linens ‘n Things, which is offering the classic “everything must go” liquidation sale before closing at year’s end.

Last weekend — the sale began on Friday — the parking lot near the store in Union Gap was full and shoppers had to hunt for a shopping cart. The discounts weren’t too deep — 10 to 20 percent, but are expected to tick upward in the next few weeks.

* Chances are you’re buying electronics this holiday. And the Consumer Electronics Association is confident of those chances.

The trade organization’s study says that consumers are expected to spend 28 percent of their holiday funds on consumer electronics, an increase of six percent from the same period a year ago.

The report also said that 80 percent of adults surveyed and 84 percent of teenagers desired electronics for gifts this year. Top gifts requested included video game systems (Hello, Wii?!), digital cameras and portable DVD players.

* While the CEA has remained optimistic, most of the retail industry is feeling pretty grim about the holiday season. The worst of the forecasts came from Brand Keys, a New York-based brand and consumer loyalty research firm. It expects that sales will decline 5 percent.

That’s the most pessimistic of all the forecasts. The National Retail Federation predicted a sales increase of 2.2 percent, the International Council of Shopping Centers predicted an increase of 1.7 percent and TNS Retail Forward, a Columbus-based retail analysis firm, predicts an increase of 1.5 percent.



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