As the calendar moves closer and closer to the holiday season, local shops are prepping themselves for the rush of shoppers they hope to see come through their doors. For some local business owners, their confidence in a strong holiday shopping season is supported by the slow, but steady improvement of economic conditions nationwide.
“I’m very exicted about this holiday season,” said Katherine McHenry, owner of Building Blocks toy store, 3306 N. Lincoln Ave. “It’ll show much more activity compared to the last few holidays… I think this year is a little better. People are more hopeful, confident and positive.”
McHenry said that she began ordering extra inventory in anticipation of the rush in August and she has already started to get requests for gift wrapping.
“I definitely saw more requests than usual for Christmas wrapping, Chanukah wrapping too” she said.
Deb Jawiki of Chicago Music Exchange, 3316 N. Lincoln Ave., is hoping for the same rush she saw last year, but on a different platform.
“Last year was crazy and we are hopeful for more of the same,” Jawiki said. “We’ve focused on growing our sales outlets online, as well as in-store, while making sure our inventory is sufficient to handle to rush.”
Jawiki added that she expects that business to stem from a growing business and fostered community and customer awareness.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, predicts retail sales to go up 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this holiday shopping season, down from 2011′s estimate of 5.6 percent growth.