Local retailers feeling economic pinch

A Grinch-y economy has taken some of the sparkle out of the Christmas shopping season so far.

A Grinch-y economy has taken some of the sparkle out of the Christmas shopping season so far.

Local retailers said there appears to be a little less spending this year, although some figure it’s about the same as last year.

A woman who works at a Bower Place Shopping Centre clothing shop said overall traffic appears to be down a bit.

“I don’t think there’s as much disposable income,” she said, adding more online shopping is also a factor.

“It’s definitely down. But (Friday) night, it was insane,” she said, adding the mall was packed.

She predicted the parking lot would be full again by the afternoon.

“It’s still pretty good.”

A salesperson at a jewelry store said the economy has had a noticeable impact.

“It’s a different year,” she said. “It’s definitely slower.”

But while sales might be down a little, it has not been a dramatic drop. she added.

A saleswoman at another clothing store said it has been steady so far this season.

“It hasn’t been super, super busy,” she said, adding the mall has been crowded though.

Another women’s clothing retailer said sales so far were on par with last year.

“Everything’s been good.”

Dan Hachey, general manager of Parkland Mall, said retail is “surprisingly boisterous” considering the bad news on the economic front.

“It’s probably a little under last year,” he said, adding retailers are taking it in stride.

Spirits appear to be remaining high among most shoppers.

Given slumping oil prices many retailers were concerned about the upcoming season, which is always hugely important to merchants.

“When the economy is the way it is you always wonder how our residents are doing, but, fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be showing in people’s purchases for Christmas,” Hachey said.

Solid sales numbers from retailers aren’t usually available until February, when retail analysts will be able to take stock of the season.

Reg Warkentin, policy co-ordinator Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, said they are hearing that the season should be reasonably good.

While there has been no shortage of bad economic news over the last few months, Red Deer’s unemployment still sits at only 5.5 per cent, which would be an enviable number in many jurisdictions.

The economy is down compared to some of the banner years of not so long ago, said Warkentin, but overall it could be much worse.

For many businesses, the first quarter of next year — traditionally a slow time — may provide a clearer picture of where the retail economy stands.

Just Posted

Flooding potential within Red Deer, Lacombe and Stettler to be assessed

Federal-provincial projects will do mapping, forecasting

Red Deer Housing Authority hires local manager

Franklin Kutuadu starts as CAO in February

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Report: China is driving use of armed drones in Middle East

BEIRUT — The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven… Continue reading

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Most Read