Remember to Shop Small This Holiday Season

Massachusetts retailers are expecting a 10% increase in sales over last year, but inflation is still a concern

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There are five shopping Saturdays to go before Christmas and retailers in Massachusetts are cautiously optimistic about the holiday season.

But many Bay State businesses are depending on you to shop small this year.

Every holiday shopping season poses a unique set of challenges for both retailers and consumers. We had those serious COVID-19 restrictions.  Last year supply chain issues led to product shortages, but there are no worries about that this season.

In fact, Massachusetts retailers are expecting a 10% increase in sales over last year, but, there is a big concern that can be summed up in one word --inflation.

”You can't look at 8% inflation and increase your prices 8%, because the competition out there just does not allow for that,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

“The consumer still has all the leverage, right from their smartphone to buy whatever they're looking for anywhere around the world.”

He said there will be a lot of upfront discounting and a lot of promotions, which is good for the consumer.

"You're going to continue to see the discounts right through the end of the season because competition is dictating that you do that," said Hurst.

He added there is a critical need for consumers to shop locally this year, since many small retailers who suffered during the pandemic are banking on holiday sales to make it to next year.

He said in addition to gift items, small businesses would benefit from people making some impulse buys while shopping.  Sales of those add-on items will determine whether or not this fourth quarter is successful for a lot of sellers.

And, keep in mind that businesses are still dealing with labor shortages.  So, if you have flexibility, try shopping off-hours to avoid the busiest times and be patient.    

This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday, an annual event that was created to encourage consumers to shop locally in person and online at small stores.  It’s also typically a time to find sales and promotions,  while supporting those local businesses on Main Street.  

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