Chamber of Commerce Anticipates Holiday Shopping Rush
Prince George, B.C. – Business has been slower than usual for some retailers this Christmas season but their fortunes may change with an improvement in the weather.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Christie Ray says a small survey of her members reveals “sales are down a little bit from last year.”
She says businesses suspect the December cold snap is to blame.
“And the weather in general because we had such warm weather and no snow leading up to Christmas that it took a while for people to get into the holiday mode,” says Ray.
“And now the cold weather may be holding some people back. But there is a sense of anticipation that the last 10 days before Christmas should probably pick up quite a bit. I think maybe people will realize yes, it is very close to Christmas, we’ve got to get some shopping done and we’ll visit our retailers.”
Aside from the weather, she says her members are also telling her things may be a bit slower due to the economy as well as more competition because of more business openings in town.
One business that was helped along by the cold snap was Northern Hardware.
“We got a lot busier as far as our seasonal products go,” says staff member Kelly. “For example, we’ve sold more heaters, heat tape, all kinds of lava rock and salt, water heaters.”
She adds the expected shift to snow this weekend should also help their bottom line.
“We’re hoping the shovels will go and snow blowers and all that. We just try and keep on the weather and make sure that we have stuff in stock for what’s coming up.”
Kelly noticed a real slow down though prior to the recent deep freeze.
“The late winter threw things off. I mean you must remember a lot of our customers are in the logging industry and the loggers were down for probably a good month and a half and when they’re not working it affects the economy,” she says.
“The ground wasn’t freezing and they couldn’t get in the bush. So, when there’s no pay checks coming in they’re not going to be spending any money either.”