The day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday,” has traditionally marked the start of the holiday shopping season, prefaced by big box retailers bludgeoning consumers with ads detailing their vast price cuts in hopes of winning patronage. Local retailers have gotten a jump on holiday shopping as well, with shops in the area already welcoming in extra inventory in anticipation of the yearly rush.
Cat Pham, of Nortcenter’s Isle of Man, said that the shop has been in preparation for the holidays for a while.
“We plan for the holidays six months in advance,” she said. “We have everything in and now we’re just waiting.”
This holiday marks the third for Isle of Man, a specialty clothing store. Pham said that they’ve seen growth in the last two years, and 2012 should be more of the same.
“Even in our first year, it was busy. Last year it doubled,” Pham said. “I’m expecting [this year] to be awesome.”
Pham credited the store’s niche market for its success, saying that patrons can purchase harder to find items there, and that leads to more repeat customers.
Tracy Kellner, of Lincoln Square’s Provenance Food and Wine, said this is the time of year when she sees business start to climb, and this year shouldn’t be any different.
“I expect it to be busy,” she said. “Historically, we’ve seen growth even in a recession. Normally, this is the week we see a little more growth.”
Kellner also estimates that business at Provenance is up over this point in 2011, but she was more cautious in ordering extra inventory for the holiday rush.
“I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I feel like we’re already up over this time last year,” she said. “Inventory is up, [but] I was a little more conservative than I was last year in terms of buying too early.”
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.