A tough upcoming holiday for retailers? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

A tough upcoming holiday for retailers?

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Christmas is still 60 days away, but holiday shopping is already on the minds of many retailers, and so far the predictions are grim.

The holiday shopping season will be upon us in just a matter of weeks and despite our tough economic times some retailers are hoping for the best.

Tony Lane of Target says, "We expect to stay busy with only having four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, whereas last year there were five weeks."

And some are even turning to older practices to entice customers.

Kerry Krueger of Kmart says, "Kmart is the only national discount retailer that offers layaway as a solution for our customers."

Hyped in national advertisements for the first time in years, layaway lets customers pay bit by bit before taking the items home.

Krueger says, "It's a solution to be able to purchase the items they want today and then pay for it and pick it up in eight weeks."

But the predictions for this year's holiday shopping season are grim. The National Retail Federation says consumers plan to spend on average about $830 on holiday related shopping, up by about only two percent from last year.

"I think they will come out this holiday season and support us again."

But Counterpoint owner Carol Bitton says she thinks her customers will remain loyal.

Bitton says, "We've taken into consideration that people don't have the money that maybe they had in years past and they're looking for something really good, at a good price, I think they can find it downtown."

She says store owners like herself try to offer a wide range of prices to accomodate the customers who've tightened up on spending.

Bitton says, "I think when you can support your local merchant and you can leave your money in town to work for you I think that's the best thing you can do in these hard times because you certainly don't want businesses to go away."

According to the National Retail Federation people visit different stores for various reasons, but will base most of their shopping this year on price.

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