Eight in 10 brick-and-mortar retailers throughout Hampton Roads are heading into the holiday season expecting to increase their sales during this Q.4 make-or-break shopping period.
The results of the Retail Pulse survey, conducted annually by Retail Alliance, the Hampton Roads’ retail merchants association, gathers local stores’ holiday expectations with questions predicting increases or decreases in retail sales; growth of online sales; consumer marketing; and biggest holiday challenges.
“With continuing low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, our retail members are cautiously optimistic about this holiday season,” said Ray Mattes, president and CEO of Retail Alliance. “This local retail confidence also reflects the National Retail Federation’s forecasted holiday sales increase of between 3.8% and 4.2%.”
Of the merchants included in the 2019 survey, 60% own a brick and mortar store and 22% own both a brick and mortar and ecommerce store.
The highest number (33%) expect an increase of 5-9% (vs 30% in 2018). 11% of respondents forecast a 10-14% hike in consumer buying (a significant decrease from 24% in 2018); and 17% are looking for growth of 15% or more (similar to the 18% in 2018).
Nationally, 90% of retail sales are still conducted in brick and mortar stores and although online sales as a percentage of total sales is growing, it is happening slowly and unevenly.
“To succeed in this slowly changing retail environment, retailers will need to evolve to accommodate a greater range of customer behavior. Success will depend on how well a retailer facilitates its customers shopping experience, both online and off,” Mattes remarked.
The national predictions, along with the confidence of local retailers, are good signs that the local retail performance will remain positive this holiday season. The retail landscape may be transforming with increasing online sales and changing consumer shopping habits, but local merchants are confident in their ability to increase sales, albeit on a more moderate scale.