The holiday season is always an important time for retailers, but now that the coronavirus pandemic has claimed some businesses and left others teetering on the edge of closure, holiday shopping this year could be more critical than ever.
For many businesses, the next few months could determine their futures, Stuart Lauchlan wrote in diginomica.
“Retail’s taken a pounding from COVID and retailers across the board desperately need the Holiday season of 2020 to be a success, otherwise many of them won’t need to be thinking about planning for the same period in 2021,” he wrote. “As an industry, retail’s been through a lot, pre and post the onset of the pandemic, but the real stress test is about to begin.”
Jade’s Fashions boutique co-owner Maryanne Reyes said she was working on sales and special deals to tempt customers. The decrease in in-store traffic during the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the business, she said.
“For this season, I think it’s going to be difficult, as well, because now we don’t have the events that we had before,” Reyes said.
“As a small business, as a boutique, it’s really difficult because we’re competing against Macy’s and the largest stores and online,” she said.
Reyes said she has remained hopeful, however.
“I’m optimistic and looking towards the future that it will be OK, but it is at the point where it’s a real struggle because we just don’t have the walk-in clients at this point,” Reyes said.
Jennie Walker, co-owner and creative director at Walker/Viden Luxury Consignment in Pasadena, said much of her sales have shifted online, as the pandemic has also reduced foot-traffic in her store.
She, too, said she hoped the upcoming holiday shopping season would help give the business a lift.
The two-and-a-half months between now and Christmas “absolutely is going to impact us,” she said.
“The fourth quarter is always the biggest quarter in retail,” Walker said.
“It’s going to take more than the fourth quarter to make or break us,” she said. “We’re determined to see this through and get through the other side of COVID.”
Valia’s Jewelers owner Michael Azabache said business has been brisk since he was able to reopen after being ordered closed at the start of the pandemic.
“We get a lot of fewer people coming in, but most of the people that come in are very serious. They come for a purpose, either to purchase something or to have something repaired,” Azabache said.
“We’re very fortunate in that case. We have a very good clientele,” he said.
Like many other retailers, he also wondered what was in store for the holiday shopping season.
“That’s our biggest time of the year,” he said. I think we’re going to be fine. I’m just hoping that we don’t go through another shutdown right before the holiday,” Azabache said. “So we’ll see.”
Gary Trudell, the owner of Custom Comfort Mattress, which recently opened a new location in Pasadena, said he was also optimistic about the months to come.
“Be it furniture or carpet or appliances, and certainly for mattresses, the business has been quite strong for a lot of us,” he said. “So I think it will stay continually strong.”
Even so, Trudell said business will undoubtedly be affected by the holiday season.
“A lot of times we will sell more beds, but it’s more of the guest bedrooms, the daybeds, and the sofa sleepers for a guest coming to town,” he said. “So I think that is going to depend on the travel.”