Shoppers are out in full force for Black Friday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. And there are plenty of options when it comes to buying holiday gifts. Retail giants like Walmart and Target specialize in high volume, low priced goods that will draw shoppers in to their stores, but the holiday shopping season is one that many small, locally-owned shops depend on for survival.
The National Retail Federation says this holiday season may represent as much as 20-40% of annual sales for stores, big and small. But for local businesses holiday sales can make or break them, according to Dawn Schroeder, Executive Director of the Waynesville Chamber of Commerce.
"So, this weekend is extremely important to them, and the following weekends to come between now and Christmas and the end of the year," she says.
Schroeder believes shop owners are relying more heavily on holiday sales because businesses throughout the year has been hurt by a still lagging economy.
"You know, I heard a great quote the other day," the chamber leader said. "At one time people used to say, 'How's business? And they would say, 'It's great!' Now people say, 'It's fine.'"
The National Retail Federation is optimistic about this season. It forecasts a modest boost of 3.9 percent in holidays sales this year, which it says is in line with economy's slow but steady recovery. They estimate more than $602 Billion dollars will be spent at retail locations nationwide in November and December of this year.