Holiday shoppers boost local businesses

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The Antique Shoppes Co-owner Trish Nattin. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

As any small business owner will tell you, holiday sales either make or break their bottom line. And Bossier business owners are no different.

In fact, for some retailers, the holidays represent nearly 30 percent of their total yearly sales, according to the National Retail Federation. 

The five Saturdays in December were expected to be among the busiest shopping days. Shoppers hit the stores and scour online purveyors throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas. 

The National Retail Federation expected holiday sales for small business to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 with consumers spending an average of $1,007.24.

Co-Owner of The Antiques Shoppes in the East Bank District, Trish Nattin, says it is still too early to see if sales increased due to the holidays, but she added that foot traffic increases in her store when events are held at East Bank Plaza, including the Small Business Saturday event that took place in November. 

“It is still too early to see how much holiday sales have occurred. But I am sure sales were higher,” Nattin says. “I have seen an increase in foot traffic in the area with the growth in Bossier and when the plaza is holding an outdoor event. I see the numbers go up here in the store, including when the small business Saturday event was held last month. We were swamped.”

Shoppers did deliver a Yule tide increase. Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. 

Sales have been generally strong throughout the holiday season, led by increases in online shopping. Retailers entered the holidays with momentum as online sales jumped 26.4 percent from a year earlier between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Black Friday, one sign of an early buying surge, according to Adobe Analytics.

Unlike many retailers who offer online shopping, some businesses prefer to keep their customer interactions face to face and provide excellent customer service. They would rather answer questions customers might have or help find that perfect gift to recreate a special memory from their childhood.

“The stuff we have here is unlike stuff that you can purchase online. We are unique to the area, we have 38 vendors that all have their own tastes, there is no telling what you’re going to find in here. I hear at least once a day from a customer that they found a special piece here in the store that their grandmother had when they were growing up and it brings back many of their favorite memories,” Nattin says.

Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season, according to Mastercard.