Marketing efforts aimed at persuading Americans that the 2012 holiday buying season starts somewhere around Halloween don’t appear to be making much headway, regional retailers and business advocates said Wednesday.
“I think Black Friday will always be the traditional kickoff,” Southside Mall general manager Luisa Montanti said. “But for the past three to four years, I’ve just seen that trend that shoppers are still shopping the last week before Christmas. They’re consistently picking up a few items here and there throughout the month of December, but many of them are still focusing on that last big rush the week before.”
Scott McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin’s, which has stores in Oneonta and Norwich, said his sales numbers for the season mirrored that trend.
“We had a really good Black Friday weekend,” he said. “Sales kind of died off the two weeks after that, but basically finished the holiday season above last year’s.”
Overall, retailers and regional business advocates were optimistic that final sales figures would show the 2012 holiday season was at least as good and probably better than the 2011 season.
“All in all, at least in Oneonta, it was a good holiday season for us,” McLaughlin said.
Mary Beth Silano, executive director of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, said she thought final sales numbers would show gains there, too.
“I haven’t heard back yet from the retailers,” she said. “I can only go from what I saw. I think the main streets were busier. I think more people were buying locally. They were trying to really do due diligence in buying items locally.”
“I think people can’t handle the crowds,” she added. “The holidays become so commercialized; they’re looking more to downscale. The economy, of course, isn’t that great, so I think staying closer to home helps everybody all around.”