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Bartow County merchants ready for holiday shoppers
by Monica Burge
November 19, 2012 02:49 PM | 1843 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Meg Pie co-owners Nancy Childs and Deborah Ballew check out customer BJ King, who is also a local business owner of The Body Shop, on Wednesday afternoon.
From left, Meg Pie co-owners Nancy Childs and Deborah Ballew check out customer BJ King, who is also a local business owner of The Body Shop, on Wednesday afternoon.
Black Friday is the nationally recognized as the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

While many will head out to big box retail stores, the desire is to have as many as possible invest in homegrown businesses right in their own backyard to not only find great deals and unique gifts, but provide much needed revenues to the local economy.

Meg Pie, located in downtown Cartersville, is one of the many local merchants who hope to cash in during the next few weeks of shopping.

Shoppers will head out long before the sun comes up, mere hours after Thanksgiving dinner has been served in search of bargains and the most bang for their buck.

But whether they spend here or outside the county line, shoppers are expected to spend big this holiday season.

National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, predicts holiday sales this year will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion and that the forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent.

“This is the most optimistic forecast National Retail Federation has released since the recession,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year. “Variables including an upcoming presidential election, confusion surrounding the ‘fiscal cliff’ and concern relating to future economic growth could all combine to affect consumers’ spending plans, but overall we are optimistic that retailers promotions will hit the right chord with holiday shoppers.”

According to NRF, recent government data released shows a crosscurrent of indicators that could impact holiday sales, including unimpressive job and income growth and an unemployment rate stuck at 8 percent. However, positive indicators are emerging that show a cautious but capable consumer, such as increases in confidence and home prices.

“While moderate compared to what we experienced the last two holiday seasons, the forecast is a very pragmatic look at what to expect this year given the current rate of economic growth,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “There’s still some general anxiety amongst consumers when it comes to how the state of the economy is impacting their spending plans, but retailers can expect to see excitement around their promotions and plenty of bargain hunters both online and in stores in the coming months.”

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