You may have noticed the “C” word creeping into more and more conversations as the summer of 2022 fades and the chill of fall fills the air. Christmas is approaching and local merchants are holding their collective breath after two years of the COVID pandemic and are now recording inflation.
Many retailers, including local family businesses, rely heavily on the holiday shopping season. For some, it can be the difference between living to fight another day and winding up.
SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce President Rick Kidder said, “We look forward to a robust holiday shopping season, but need to keep a close eye on inflationary pressures and economic indicators. One thing we know is that ‘local shopping’ supports the local economy.”
There are, however, good reasons to be nervous. A CNBC headline proclaimed: “Holiday shopping season should be muted, as inflation squeezes buyers.”
CNBC reported that while consumers will likely spend more this year than last, the increase will likely be much smaller when adjusted for inflation.
Fortune reported that the forecasts of “accounting giant” Deloitte a slowdown in spending growth.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) said more and more people are start their holiday shopping earlier than ever and they are looking for bargains. The NRF said there was a good chance they would find them.
Kidder urged shoppers to consider their local retailer when shopping for holiday gifts.
“The pandemic, along with other price pressures, has made people more conditioned to shopping online, but local shopping means local jobs and local service commitments,” he said.
Kidder said it was a particularly difficult time for local traders.
“Overall growth has been slow, and many businesses are facing labor shortages, the challenge of rising wages, and now inflation and supply issues,” he said. declared. “Prices are going up, wages are going up, but companies are under pressure to afford those increases, which is creating an inflation spiral.”
Ian Abreu, Business Development Manager and Chairman of the Southcoast Chamber of Commerce Council, echoed the drive to buy local.
“According to the Small Business Administration, of every $100 spent on a local small business, approximately $50 is returned to the local economy in the form of wages and salaries, tax revenue and local purchases of services,” said he declared. said.
“When you shop at a local family store, you’re helping someone who actually lives in our community, who provides top-notch service,” he said. “You’re helping a neighbor, a friend, a Little League baseball team sponsor – someone who’s invested in us.”