Retailers expect dip in holiday sales amid economic struggles

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Amid the economic struggles caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Florida retailers are expecting a 5 percent decrease in holiday sales this year.

“Projections are that sales will be down about 5 percent,” Florida Retail Federation President Scott Shalley said. “Most of that really is that people are still going to be buying gifts, but they may not be picking up that extra something for themselves.”

The holiday shopping season is the biggest time of the year for stores, which make 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales during the month before Christmas. Given fears about the coronavirus, Shalley said he expects more people to shop online this year. He hopes consumers will spend money with stores that also have a physical presence in Florida.

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“Whether it’s a big box or a small store, and you decide to shop online, shop online with somebody who has a local presence,” he said. “They are hiring Floridians and paying taxes in Florida. We need it right now. It’s been a difficult year, and we hope to close out the year strong.”

An average consumer is expected to spend $998 on gifts this year, about $50 less than last year. 

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.