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Saturday, Dec 2, 2023

Small Retailers Feel Progress and Pain During Holidays

While the retail industry as a whole reported higher than expected revenues from holiday shopping, smaller local shops had mixed outcomes. MasterCard Advisors’ recently released SpendingPulse report showed that overall season-over-season consumer spending grew by 5.5 percent between Nov. 5 and Dec. 24. The figure does not include auto sales. E-commerce had even greater improvements with sales up by 15.4 percent. SpendingPulse tracks national retail and services sales. Some local store owners have also experienced the upward shopping trend. Suzanne Kagan and Adam Arevian of Dalia’s clothing boutique in Tarzana. Dalia’s, an upscale women’s and men’s clothing and accessory boutique on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana, said she expects December sales to be up by about 5 percent. When calculating the full November and December holiday season, she expects sales to be up by 20 to 25 percent, said Dalia Dan, the store’s owner. The expected success is largely due to the fact that the business held a 10-day sale for Black Friday at the end of November using liquidation prices. Dan said she has noticed some changes to customers’ shopping habits. “As for gifts, people won’t spend too much for other people, but for themselves they will,” she said, adding that much of the holiday wrapping she purchased to use for customers went unused. The business owner who has had her store for 18 years said that while overall sales have improved, she is still not back to pre-recession levels. Dan added that she remains cautious, cutting down on inventory buying while still offering designer items. Harrisons, a gift shop just down the street from Dalia’s that has been open for a year and eight months, also did better this holiday season. The store – which sells items such as home decorative pieces, baby accessories and fine jewelry – started receiving the rush of holiday shoppers a couple days before Thanksgiving, said Shellie Harrison, the store’s owner. Harrison said that while the economy played a factor, she thinks sales went up due to the fact that her store is now better established. One junior clothing store in Valencia called Ignition had higher sales as well. The store’s owner said it helps that her business has been around for 10 years. “We can never compete with the department stores, I think, but we are in business,” said Tiffany Paulson-Pazak. “I think there’s good success (in) that we’re still open.” Lower for others Other local retailers say they are still waiting to see a rise in consumer confidence. Eliza Shili, owner of Adictions clothing and accessory store in Tarzana where items are marked at $15, said sales were worse this season compared to last season, especially because heavy rain hit during the week she normally receives holiday shoppers. She described holiday sales as being “absolutely down” compared to the year before. “I feel it not just for Christmas, but for all year,” Shili said. “Everybody doesn’t want to spend money or doesn’t have money.” Shili started selling her items at $15 apiece three years ago because of the economy. A sporting goods store in the San Fernando Valley that did not want to be named also said holidays sales were down compared to last year. Its owners said shoppers have been buying fewer items and have been trying to haggle down prices. Major in-store and online sales by the larger retailers were blamed. “The Internet is robbing us,” the store owner said. “The manner and the rhythm has changed. … (Shoppers) are looking for a quarter price on our original prices.

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