Nov 1, 2010 8:13 PM by John Romero
With Halloween now in the books the retail focus shifts to Christmas. With only 54 shopping days left, businesses are already getting into the holiday spirit. "We already have all of our Christmas wrap in and we're ready to go." says Chris Sondermann who owns Terra Verde, a shop in downtown Colorado Springs, "We have our plans on how we're going to merchandise for Christmas."
Numbers released Monday from the National Retail Federation show the possibility of a 2 to 3% increase in holiday sales this year. Here at home, that number may prove to be even higher. "We look like we're going to be up at least 5% and even as high as 8% for the Christmas season compared to a year ago." explains Fred Crowley, an economist and professor at UCCS. The x-factors... more jobs and more soldiers. "We have about 5500 more people working now than we did in January with more hiring going on for the Christmas season." explains Crowley, "Plus the troops are most back this time at Fort Carson as opposed to being deployed. These are very important drivers for our community."
Sondermann and Terra Verde are already seeing that trend. "Last year was a little slower, but better than 2008. Our trend is that we are continuing to recover." she says, "The store is up about 5% for the year right now." Sondermann is even going as far as upping inventory to prepare for what she hopes is an eventful holiday season. "I decided to go for it this year." she says, "We have 20% more inventory than we did at this time last year. I just feel safer that the climate warrants it, so we're ready to go!" The National Retail Federation also expects a big climb in internet sales. They project a 15% hike in revenues from last year.