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Retail rumble: Are holiday shoppers hitting the stores or the enter button?

Kmart has closed a number of stores in the Greater Lehigh  Valley (file photo)
Kmart has closed a number of stores in the Greater Lehigh Valley (file photo)

Kmart, Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Bon-Ton – these are all retailers in the process of closing or which already have closed massive amounts of store locations across the nation, as well as stores in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

It seems like a brick-and-mortar retail apocalypse is on the horizon as more shoppers turn to online retailers such as Amazon for the goods they need and want.

So has the internet killed the department store star?

Analysts are keeping a close eye on holiday sales this year, the time of the year when most stores make the bulk of their income.

Will stores sell enough to keep the “Going Out of Business” signs at bay?

With fairly good fall weather making leaving the house to shop a more attractive option and low unemployment meaning more people have money to spend, it seems like people are out shopping.

At least the season is off to a good start.

The National Retail Federation looked at shopping from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday and estimated that about 174 million Americans shopped over the long weekend, beating the foundation’s prediction of 164 million.

According to its research, the average spending per person over the five-day period was $335.47, with $250.78 — 75 percent — specifically going toward gifts.

The biggest spenders were older millennials (25-34 years old) at $419.52.

Of course, some of that was spent online.

The NRF estimated that 64 million shopped both online and in stores. In addition, more than 58 million shopped only online, and more than 51 million shopped only in stores.

That still helps stores with both a brick-and-mortar and online presence as the survey also showed that the multichannel shopper spent $82 more on average than the online-only shopper, and $49 more on average than those shoppers who only visited stores.

So, how did the shopping break down?

The NRF said the top shopping destinations were department stores (43 percent), online retailers (42 percent), electronic stores (32 percent), clothing and accessories stores (31 percent) and discount stores (also 31 percent).

How much shoppers will ultimately spend, and if it’s enough to keep their favorite stores open, remains to be seen, but out of the gate it looks like retailers will indeed have a happy holiday season.


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