Businesses brace for holiday shopping season

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:49 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Thanksgiving is here and that marks the start of the holidays, and with it, the shopping season.

According to the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, national sales around the holiday represent around 20% of retailers’ total sales a year, and the same is true for retailers in the Burlington area.

Vermont is known for its commitment to every season and the holiday time of year is no different.

“I kind of do like the shopping in Vermont, it gets the festivities out,” said Anthony Saporito of Norwich.

Businesses on Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace, like Outdoor Gear Exchange, are getting ready for a packed few weeks.

“It’s definitely going to be a big sprint the next couple of months in terms of the business that we’ll see,” said Virginia Farley with the Outdoor Gear Exchange.

Farley says the warm fall and inflation led to a somewhat slow sale season in recent months but they’re not in a pinch, and the holiday season is one of their biggest sales times of the year.

“We have a lot of things that we can use to hypothesize what will affect our sales. But I think market-wide we’re seeing people’s buying habits change a little bit in the past six months, but it’s like the holiday season to reinvigorate that,” said Farley.

Despite supply chain issues in years past, Farley says their stock is good. She adds that more and more people turn in clothes, gear and equipment into consignment by the day.

The Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce says summer is the busiest sales season for Burlington, with fall shortly behind. Chamber President Cathy Davis says national holiday sales have increased in 2020 and 2021.

“The National Retail Federation I believe is expecting between a 6% and an 8% increase nationally this year for holiday shopping,” Davis said.

As always, Vermonters are encouraged to buy gifts for their loved ones right in their town.

“When you shop locally with locally owned businesses, your dollars stay in the community and are put to work in the community. So I would really encourage folks to get out and visit their local retailers, check out their e-commerce sites, and really do their best to keep those dollars local in our community this year,” said Davis.

There are lots of holiday events in the Queen City this year. The Turkey Trot will take over Burlington starting at 10 a.m. and the Christmas Tree lighting is Friday evening.