NC may be bucking national holiday sales trend - WRBL

NC may be bucking national holiday sales trend

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The National Retail Federation's holiday survey indicates the average shopper plans to spend about $740 this year, which a 2% drop from what people spent last year. The National Retail Federation's holiday survey indicates the average shopper plans to spend about $740 this year, which a 2% drop from what people spent last year.

Because Thanksgiving came late this year, the holiday shopping season is one week shorter than usual.

Add to that sagging consumer confidence because of the economy and that's a big worry to retailers. But here in North Carolina some experts say, we could buck that national trend.

Shoppers in the Raleigh area were looking for bargains at stores that were open on Thanksgiving.

"If the deals right, I'm going to get it," said Brenda Arce, who had a shopping cart filled with goods at the K-Mart on Capital Boulevard.

WNCN's complete Holiday Guide

The deals weren't just available on Thanksgiving; many retail chains started offering deals started days before.

But even with early discounts, so retailers fear this could be the worst holiday spending season since 2009.

"Stores are definitely worried this year,'' said retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar. "Consumer spending is the lowest it's been since the fall of Lehman Brothers."

Lehman Brothers, once a dominant Wall Street firm, sought bankruptcy protection in 2008.

In fact, the National Retail Federation's holiday survey indicates the average shopper plans to spend about $740 this year, which a 2 percent drop from what people spent last year.

SHARE OUR RESEARCH. The National Retail Federation Survey is here. Shoppertrak's Black Friday report is here, and Shoppertrak's retail blog is available at this link.

To try and combat that trend, retailers are slashing prices more than any year since the recession.

But here in North Carolina, we are bucking that trend.

"I'm looking for Christmas sales to go up about 5% because of several factors," said Dr. Mike Walden, an economist at NC State University. "We have more jobs, the housing market is recovering and gas prices are down. Those factors will work to put people in the stores."

But, many of those were in the stores Thanksgiving say are shopping carefully.

"I have planned for the last month," said shopper Aishia Andrews. "This is my first stop today and I'll be going to several more," she explained as she carefully selected clothing item at the Raleigh K-Mart.

And this year, analysts say, more folks than ever will forego in-store shopping and do it all on line.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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