Economy: the Grinch that stole holiday shoppers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Economy: the Grinch that stole holiday shoppers

By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - There are fears this could be one of the worst holiday shopping seasons in decades. Retail stores reported big drops in sales last month.

Wal-mart was the lone bright spot -- indicating people are bargain hunting when they do buy. At the same time, the auto industry is sputtering -- it saw its biggest decline in sales in 17 years.

And the number of people getting unemployment is at its highest level in more than 25 years. Thursday, Yellowbook phoned in job cuts -- announcing 220 layoffs nationwide, including nearly 100 in Cedar Rapids.

All that could leave a lump of coal in retailers stockings this Christmas. The key is there's a lot of time left. Stores in Dubuque are seeing the same drop in sales heading into the holiday shopping season. But businesses and shoppers in the Tri-states expect things will pick-up

As the Christmas lights and decorations go up at Kennedy Mall, the sales are down; at least for the month of October. "At check of our merchants here at Kennedy Mall a lot of them reporting really good September as well as the first part of October. It did go down mid month," said Cindy Kolhman, Marketing Director at Kennedy Mall.

Which matches national trends; the worst October retailers have seen in 39 years. But the cause of the drop may be different this time. "I think your seeing a bit of a mixed bag this time of year and with the economy as well as some folks are a little bit of a slow down. The election has something to with it as well," said Kohlman

Local shoppers agree and say now that elections are over, things will change. "I think is happening at a perfect time. Especially with the holiday season coming up as soon as Christmas passes, we get the after thanksgiving day sales," said Charles Bruce

Sales may actually draw more shoppers this year, since many are pinching their pennies. So despite a drop in local retail, shoppers are optimistic. "There no choice but for everything to pick up this is the time for the store to get in the black and out of the red," said Bruce.

Kennedy Mall reports sales on Black Friday last year were up 29%. This year they're offering several incentives for early shoppers. And their opening doors at 4 am.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Powered by Frankly