Shoe Retailers Remain Optimistic About 2014 Holiday Shopping Season

This shopping season, retailers did everything they could to get customers into their stores and to the cash registers — from offering “holiday shopping” discounts as early as Halloween to opening the doors wide on Thanksgiving Day. But has it worked?

The National Retail Federation forecasts that retail sales in November and December will be up 4.1 percent over last year’s sales, to $617 billion, and the group is sticking by those projections. “As we’ve said all along, retailers are optimistic that they will see healthy holiday sales gains this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Still, recent data provided to The Associated Press shows that retailers may have to rely on procrastinators, those heading to the stores for last-minute gifts or deals, to boost numbers. Consumers are savvy and want to make sure they’re getting the most for their money. Some may wait until the final hour, while others are focused on getting what they want or need, instead of splurging.

Patty Patterson, owner of independent shoe store Bloomingbirds in Aspen, Colo., said that, in spite of a recent major blizzard in her area that’s keeping planes from getting in and out, the 2014 holiday season is on par with last year. “Our numbers are even,” she said of sales through this past weekend.

As far as whether she expects the steady trend to continue, Patterson said, “December is our biggest month, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

But Patterson said she thinks her customers have a positive feeling overall about spending this holiday season, which keeps her optimistic. “I think they’re willing to spend. If they like it, they’re buying it,” she explained.

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