Community Magazine

Small Business Saturday a Likely Boon for Local Retailers

By Wonder

Small Business Saturday a likely boon for local retailersThough uncertainty looms as American communities are pulled closer toward the so-called Fiscal Cliff, small business owners in the valley are determined to keep the local economy alive and robust.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, local businesses participated in Small Business Saturday, a nationally recognized shopping day in its third year that is intended to support local economies.

The American shopping holiday is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. In contrast to Black Friday, featuring big box retail stores, and Cyber Monday, spotlighting e-commerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

“Small businesses are, in a lot of cases, short on promotion dollars,” said Paul Little, president and CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. “So all the things that help promote and drive business in their direction is very positive for our area.”

Little also said he felt “pretty successful” about shopper turnout and area sales for the entire weekend. However, it is the uncertain political climate of the coming year that is cause for economic concern, he said.

“The concerns are farther down the road,” said Little. “If the federal government doesn’t deal with their issues, then there may be a significant ripple effect throughout the economy and especially with people shopping.”

According to the National Retail Federation, spending in stores and online rose to $59.1 billion in the four days beginning Nov. 22. Compared to one year ago, sales advanced 16 percent over the holiday weekend.

The NRF said that customers spent $423 on average this weekend, which is up 6.3 percent from 2011′s weekend shopping following Thanksgiving.

But the holiday shopping season has only begun. Cyber Monday will be followed on Dec. 10 by another online retail rush, Green Monday, and then Free Shipping Day on Dec. 17.

First observed on Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday was created and promoted by American Express through a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign.

Cyber Monday, which was coined by the shopping trade group in 2005, was born out of the discovery of a sharp increase in online sales on the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the research firm ComScore Inc., online shopping on Black Friday rose 26 percent to exceed $1 billion for the first time. Online sales advanced 16 percent in the first 23 days of November to $13.7 billion, with sales on Thanksgiving Day increasing 32 percent to $633 million.

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