Holiday Spending

Last holiday season the Grinch stole Christmas.

In Florida sales hit a 40 year low, and the Florida Retail Federation didn’t highlight its yearly shopping predictions.

“Last year was so naughty that we didn’t even do this. We knew that last year was going to be a disaster so we didn’t even have a press conference,” said Rick McAllister.

This year retailers say Santa Clause is coming to town. Businesses are expecting a modest boost.

Many, like JC Penney, are increasing holiday staff by 20 percent.

“We want our customers to be happy. If they shop more they are going to buy more,” said Kenneth DeHart, a JC Penney Store Manager.

If retailers are correct then the state is in for a Christmas bonus.

The forecast comes after four straight months of Florida collecting more state revenues than economist predicted.

Since July state revenues have risen 130 million dollars above estimates.

Susan Frisbee has noticed a change in consumer appetite.

Susan sells handmade jewelry and ornaments. Last December sales dropped, but now she’s already selling Christmas gifts.

“I think it is a unique one of a kind type thing that people are looking for versus the mass produced cooking cutter type pieces,” said Susan.

And halving a niche market and reasonable prices may be the difference between a lump of coal and a stocking full of goodies for store owners.

Retailers say this is not the year to procrastinate.

Many stores are stocking fewer items and early deals could mean slim-pickings for last minute shoppers.

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