Arkansas Retailers Hope Holiday Season Is Happy

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 12:00 am  

Barbara Graves plans to launch an advertising campaign to lure customers to her store for the holidays. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Martin said people were feeling better about the economy, a sentiment that translates into consumers visiting more stores.

And having more shoppers means more opportunities for retailers to benefit from customers who will make impulse purchases, he said.

Some shoppers will go to a store to inspect an item before buying it from an online retailer — a phenomenon called “showcasing.”

Martin said between 92 and 94 percent of individual retail transactions (not total dollars spent) were happening at brick-and-mortar locations.

“People still like instant gratification,” he said.

Still, Booz & Co., a management consulting firm in Chicago, found that 40 percent of consumers now describe showcasing as their shopping strategy, according to its 2012 Holiday Retail Outlook report.

“For that matter, multichannel shopping in various combinations (research online but buy in store, buy online for pickup in stores, etc.) is sure to be the dominant consumer path to purchase this year,” the report said.

Online sales are expected to have a banner year.

The NRF projects holiday online sales will climb 12 percent to between $92 billion and $96 billion — meaning about 15 percent of total projected sales. nBarbara Graves will be aggressive this holiday season.

“We’re asking [customers] for their business,” said Graves, who owns Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions in Little Rock, which sells lingerie, swimwear and loungewear and features a mastectomy department. “We’re talking to customers, … seeing what they want and how do we get it for them.”

She said sales have been down about 3.5 percent year-to-date from last year, but she hopes to see positive sales numbers by the end of the year. To do that, she will launch an advertising campaign that includes niche publications, newspapers, Facebook and possibly radio advertisements.

“It’s been a challenging year,” said Graves who has been in business for nearly 40 years.



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