What Does Shorter Holiday Shopping Season Mean For San Diego Economy?
Friday, November 22, 2013
Aired 11/22/13 on KPBS News.
Retailers around San Diego County and the rest of the nation are preparing for the $140 million-shopping rush over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week. Retailers around San Diego County and the rest of the nation are preparing for the $140 million-shopping rush over the Thanksgiving weekend. Miro Copic is a marketing lecturer at San Diego State University. He told KPBS business and environment reporter Erik Anderson the holiday shopping season is shorter that usual this year.
Copic: This year, Thanksgiving is kind of falling very late. There's six less shopping days this year than last year for the Christmas holiday. If fact, with Thanksgiving being earlier last year, probably you saw ads around the same time around the middle of the month, kind of teeing things off. But because there's so much of a gap between Thanksgiving and the first ads you saw for the Christmas holidays, it seems more pronounced this year.
Anderson: Does it put pressure on the retailers to have the short shopping season?
Copic: Oh, it puts tremendous pressure on retailers because that fourth quarter, that holiday shopping quarter is really important for them to make their revenue and earnings projections. And with fewer formal shopping days, they have to get consumers into the stores much sooner.
Anderson: So what's the expectation for the holiday shopping season this year?
Copic: Over the last couple of years, since the recession started, sales during the holiday season have kind of grown and those sales have been recouped. However, this season the National Retail Federation is projecting about a 2.9 percent increase in sales. I think that's a pretty aggressive number because you have a lot of factors that are impacting consumers this year that really weren't last year. You have the payroll tax that they're paying, a higher payroll tax. You've got concerns around the health care initiatives that there may be higher premiums in the near future for many consumers. And then on top of that, wages have not really grown so there's a lot of pressure on consumers especially middle- and lower middle-class consumers.
Anderson: We're seeing a lot of indicators that consumer confidence is really high, so how do you reconcile those two indicators?
Copic: There's attitudes and behaviors. And one of the important things that business people and economists will look at is … one is what they'll tell you and one thing is what they'll physically do. So that's why this next week-and-a-half is so important, to see if the traffic is there, whether its online, whether its in the stores or not. And there's a lot of conflicting signals right now.