Posted: Wednesday, November 27th 2013 at 3:52pm
GRA president 'cautiously optimistic' about holiday shopping season
ATLANTA – Georgia retailers are ready for a busy shopping season as the crucial Thanksgiving weekend approaches - and the president of the Georgia Retailers Association (GRA) is "cautiously optimistic" about the holiday shopping season as a whole.
Retailers can make between 20 and 40 percent of all their annual sales during the Christmas shopping season in November and December, said GRA President Rick McAllister.
“Consumers appear to be shaking off some of the bad news from Washington D.C. The federal government shutdown this fall had an impact on consumer confidence, but we remain cautiously optimistic that most retailers will see an uptick in holiday sales,” said McAllister. “Retailers overall could see about a 3 percent average gain in sales, which would represent a healthy increase.”
McAllister predicted that the early arrival of a winter cold front this week would boost apparel sales at retailers across Georgia during Black Friday. He also pointed to strong consumer demand for new gaming consoles as an early indicator of growth in the electronics category.
“Shoppers are still bargain driven, but they are more optimistic about the economy next year. Retailers are staffed up and ready for big crowds scooping up the doorbusters and deals they are offering this week,” McAllister said.
One notable trend, he said, is the continued strong growth in e-commerce, which is increasingly delivered via smartphone-friendly mobile sites. E-commerce sales are expected to rise at a higher rate than brick-and-mortar sales, McAllister said, and retailers are likely to see online sales gains of as much as 15 percent during Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend when many people go online to shop.
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