‘Shopping is back’ in Alabama, and retailers ‘can’t wait to see December numbers’

Shopping is back,” Alabama retailers said when asked if instore shopping increased during 2021’s five-day Thanksgiving weekend. Those that Alabama Retail Association spoke with late Monday and early Tuesday said they had record weekends, a record month and anticipate a record year.

We’ve been up all year,” one retailer said. “I can’t wait to see December numbers!

According the National Retail Federation’s most recent shopping survey, consumers nationally say they have checked off half of their holiday lists, leaving them plenty more shopping to complete in the final month of the year.

The Alabama Retail Association’s holiday spending forecast of up to 11% growth remains intact as does NRF’s projection of an up to 10.5% increase over 2020 spending.

Alabama shoppers also seem to be getting the hang of including small, local shops in their holiday shopping outings. One business reported a $1,000 sale to a single customer on Small Business Saturday. “I told her she made a ‘great difference in our small business that day,‘ ” the business owner said, “and (the customer) said, ‘Good, that is what I intended.’

Most of the retailers Alabama Retail spoke with said Black Friday was the largest shopping day of the long holiday weekend. “This was our best Black Friday in our company history,” the owner of one 22-year-old store said.

While the number of people nationally who shopped in store increased over the five-day weekend, the overall number of online shoppers decreased, NRF said.

Alabama retailers invested in online platforms reported strong online sales with one report of tripled online sales and another with an almost 70% increase. Others with small online presences reported hardly any online sales on Cyber Monday, but strong instore sales to local shoppers.

Even when you place an order with us, we call to discuss it with you,” one retailer said. Another said Monday’s record sales were instore to “all locals, shopping local.”

Clothing came in as the top purchase over the long holiday weekend, both nationally and in Alabama. Several Alabama retailers reported women’s apparel as the top seller. “If you had what a woman wanted, you had sales,” one owner said. Toys, gift cards, books/media and electronics rounded out the top sellers nationally.

Alabama’s retailers continue to have inventory on the shelf as they head into the second month of the traditional holiday shopping period.

We were aggressive in our inventory purchasing anticipating supply chain issues, which has paid off,” one retailer said. “We forecast strong growth for the fourth quarter, but we’re outpacing our projections. We are very excited to see what December brings.”

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.

Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 | 334.868.2195 (c)| 800.239.5423