COLUMBIA, S.C. — With two weeks until Black Friday, shops are gearing up for the holiday rush.
Don Mcallister is the Co-owner of Loose Lucy's in Five Points. He says the shop is currently getting ready for what he hopes is a record breaking holiday shopping season. In 30 years of business, he says the rush has changed.
"Years ago, we would get busy right before thanksgiving. Then after Thanksgiving we would stay really really busy the whole time. Nowadays, it's quiet after thanksgiving."
On Friday, he and his staff were unloading boxes upon boxes of merchandise for the store, optimistic his customers will come around in the coming weeks. His optimism is very appropriate according to USC professor and economist, Joseph C. Von Nessen.
"We are expecting for holiday sales to be up compared to 2021, but the growth rate won't be quite as strong as we've seen in previous years."
He says despite this increase, shoppers may be surprised when hitting the shops because of inflation and current state of the US economy.
"Prices are rising at about 5 percentage points faster than wages are for south Carolinians as a whole. that means for the average south Carolinian, their dollars just aren't going as far."
He adds that shops across the state need to compete with other businesses that are offering services and online store fronts. He says shoppers should shop early and hunt for deals from their favorite places.
That has been the game plan for Vestique, a clothing shop in Five Points. Haley Winetrob, the manager, says along with an online store front, they try to bring business by shifting inventory.
"We try to have about 50 new items a week." She explains, "normally we have about 25 or 30."