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Business and the Economy

Local Retailers Gearing up For the Holidays Despite the Economy

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/localretai_5371.mp3

With the Holidays just around the corner, local retailers are gearing up for the shopping season. KSMU’s Theresa Carter spoke with local retail experts to discuss whether the national economic climate will have a local impact on retailers and consumers.

We haven't even gotten past Halloween yet but already, some people are thinking about holiday shopping. Retailers across the nation are gearing up for the always anticipated holiday shopping season. However, the economic climate has many concerned about how both retailers and consumers might be affected.

For the Springfield area experts agree that there will be an overall decline in retail sales this holiday season. David Overfelt, president of the Missouri Retailers Association, says that hardest hit businesses will be those selling luxury items. Overfelt says that discount stores and those that sell general merchandise or clothing should fair well.

"Well we know things are going to be down, but we're now out. There's still going to be a sizeable amount of activity and a good deal of sales. This is still one of the biggest times of the year for certain retail sectors, such as jewelery. This year retailers are going to be discounting, and that will be very beneficial to consumers."

Many retailers rely on seasonal employees to meet the increased demands of the shopping season. Overfelt anticipates that there will still be demand for seasonal workers, despite the projected sales decline.

"There still are going to be a number of seasonal jobs. The experienced employee, or those with a particular track record working with a retailer, will probably take many of those jobs."

One local retailer, Bass Pro Shops is very optimistic about the upcoming season. Larry Whiteley, spokesperson for Bass Pro Shops, says that even during difficult economic times, families continue to pursue outdoor activities. Whiteley says that Bass Pro relies on several seasonal workers especially with the start of “Santa’s Wonderland” last season.

"We do what we call "Santa's Workshop". We started that last year when the economy was already getting bad, and that created a lot of traffic for us. There are a lot of free things for families to do including free pictures with Santa, and many kid's activities. This generated a lot of traffic for us last year, and we anticipate doing that again this year."

Those consumers who still plan to do their usual Holiday shopping may actually benefit this season from additional sales and incentive meant to draw in shoppers. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Carter.