Retailers Looking at Better Holiday Sales Overall, Even With Hurricanes

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

Florida retailers are actually expecting a green Christmas this year in spite of the devastating hurricane season and the high cost of gasoline.

Holiday sales nationwide are expected to go up 4.5 percent over last year, and analysts think Florida could see an even bigger boost.

Shopper Sanetra Thompson is among thousands of Floridians who are planning to spend more money this holiday season than they did in 2003.

“Last year I didn’t spend as much because my daughter is only two. She’ll be three next year so I’m spending more this year,” she says.

Eight out of 10 Florida retailers are expecting holiday sales to be at least as good or better this year than last. That may sound surprising on the heels of a year that saw catastrophic storms hit almost every county in the state.

But the Florida Retail Federation says we were in good economic shape going into the hurricanes, and we have rebounded strongly. Obviously, Florida’s hurricanes will affect the shopping season.

Bill Herrle of the Florida Retail Federation expects we’ll see a difference in the types of gifts people will buy this year.

“We think spending will be up over all, but the product selection may be a little bit different. That dishwasher that might not have been the best Christmas present last year might be a little more practical and a little more well-received Christmas present this year,” says Bill.

Chris Moleski is looking at a very practical vacuum cleaner for Christmas, and she’s thinking practical for the kids, too.

“Our kids are getting older, so we’re looking for more useful things; less toys and more things we can do together, bikes, roller blades, things of that sort.”

Some families in hard-hit areas will just be happy to have a roof over their heads this holiday season, but for the most part, retailers expect to ring in the New Year on a positive note.

The average shopper will spend just over $700 this holiday season.


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