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Have you noticed changes recently in consumer spending, and what is your outlook for the holiday season?

District Voices

Published November 1, 2007  |  November 2007 issue

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[C]onsumers are outpacing last year in terms of Halloween sales. ... Having said that, it appears that the holiday season may be just average this year. ... We always gauge this based on what the National Retail Federation does with their research study of 16,000 or so shoppers. And so we're estimating that it's probably going to be around the 4 percent [growth] range, which is down a little bit from last year's estimate. So that's still OK, but this is a big time of year for retailers. ... [I]t doesn't look like it's going to be a spectacular one, just a good one.
Buzz Anderson, President
Minnesota Retailers Association—St. Paul, Minn.

Spending has been very similar at this point in time to last year, but I think the holidays have the potential to be very good if things don't get crazy on us. With the gas prices coming down, I think people have gotten a little freer with their money. The economy here in Sioux Falls is doing very well, a lot of growth going on, a lot of people coming into town bringing new money.
Paul Curtin, Owner
Raymond's Jewelers—Sioux Falls, S.D.

Our back-to-school season and September are extremely strong. Everything is pointing to a strong holiday season because things that we are seeing that we believe are driving retail sales are not transient. Job growth locally has been very strong. The agricultural economy that's vital to the Red River Valley is strong; crops were good and prices are higher than they've been in a long time. And then we've also noticed an uptick in Canadian shopping. ... [I was] talking to a Canadian couple that said they hadn't been here in 15 years, and they said, "But now the dollar is right."
Brad Schlossman, Manager
West Acres Mall—Fargo, N.D.

This year was a bad one in August, but that was because of low water. Economically, though, things are changing. I see more four-wheelers coming north than I do canoes and boats and stuff; that's getting really big. The vacations don't seem as long for people. ... I do a lot of Illinois business, and with gas prices I don't see people coming up as many weekends as usual. More of them wait for holidays.
Dave Kelly, Owner
Flambeau Sports Outfitters—Phillips, Wis.

I'd say business is down. ... We're getting a lot of [Canadians] in, yeah. And I guess it's because their dollar is even (with the U.S. dollar). They're looking for ammunition now, it seems like, because the price of ammunition has gone sky-high. ... Our problem is the weather is so beautiful it seems like summer yet, and it's not into the fall mode. People just can't get into thinking they're going hunting, as warm as it is. ... Christmas is a pretty good time. What it'll be, I haven't a clue this year. It usually stays the same.
Lou Hank, Owner
Hank's Sport Shop—Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

This year, spending is like the industry norm-we're down a little bit. ... Some parts of the business are up; some parts are down. It looks like machine sales are down a little bit. ... We're actually picking up market share, or our company itself is, but the industry norm is down, and even though our market share is up, our overall numbers are down. The parts end of the business is growing.
Paul Parkins, General Manager
High Tech Motor Sports—Billings, Mont.

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