‘Retail apocalypse’ is a false narrative according to industry expert | Beaufort County Now | If you are checking your list twice this week, small businesses across the state are ready for you to stop by.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Donna King.

    If you are checking your list twice this week, small businesses across the state are ready for you to stop by. With national supply chain problems plaguing online retailers, small brick and mortars say that last minute gifts are on their shelves, giving them an edge over online retailers.

    "The smaller retailers are benefitting some because their customers aren't worrying about if I order it, will it get here in time?" said Andy Ellen president of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association. "If I see that item on the shelf, I can touch it and walk out of the store with it."

    Alarm over the state of retail sounded this year after stores were closed last year and this year store traffic on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared with 2019 levels. But there is good news.

    "Everyone has this narrative about the retail apocalypse, but 2021 is the first year since 2017 that more retail stores opened than closed," said Ellen.

    "I think you had a lot of people who took advantage of a situation while they were sheltered at home during COVID and said I'm going to leave my job and start my own business," Ellen added.

    Factors like labor shortage and government regulations on shipping put a stranglehold on the national supply chain this year, sending shoppers back to the stores when that gift ordered online didn't arrive. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, out of nearly 7,500 shoppers surveyed, 25% plan to buy their last gift this week, and 6% say they will probably be shopping on Christmas Eve.

    Called "Super Sunday" in the retail industry, nearly 150 million people shopped this past weekend, down more than 25% from the last weekend before Christmas in 2019.

    That is why local small businesses are hoping that shoppers come in for those last minute ready-to-go gifts, advice, and ideas. Many of these stores are new to the market, as more people venture to open a small retail store with new strategies.

    "People also pivoted a little bit because they realize they can do a retail business in a smaller space than they would have as long as they layer an online presence on top and its not as quite as big an outlay in overhead and rent," said Ellen.

    Even with open doors small retailers are continuing with curbside pickup, delivery, and building an online presence.

    "U.S. shoppers are more prepared to deal with the complications of a pandemic than they were last year and have more experience with the options available to them," Bjoern Petersen, president of Sensormatic Solutions, wrote in Forbes.

    One item on your list you may have some difficulty finding? Candy canes. There is a shortage of peppermint this year, after production of the raw oil was down almost 10% in 2020. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the U.S. produces about 70% of the world's supply of peppermint oil, but problems in this year's crop, including labor shortage and a fungus that attacks the plants, has reduced supply of mint candy.
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

revoke emergency use of monoclonal antibodies with no basis for doing so but politics
President Joe Biden faced backlash on Sunday over remarks that he made in response to the hostage situation that unfolded on Saturday at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
Top Democratic strategist James Carville took a shot at his own party during an NBC News interview on Sunday, saying that they needed to quit whining about things that they did not get, and focus instead on fighting for the American people.
Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) attacked members of her own party over the weekend, suggesting that they were racist because they do not support far-left measures that the party is pushing.
Gov. Roy Cooper and N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein want the state Supreme Court to throw out new statewide election maps.
We get corruption when power is abused.
Russia has reportedly signaled that it may move nuclear missiles off the United States coastline if it does not get what it wants in Europe amid increasing conflict with Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.


The death of a democratic republic is not a new possibility; it has happened before in the pantheon of World history, and it can happen again; but, who will be to blame?
Biden snapped at Fox News reporter Peter Doocy
When asked by Fox News host Maria Bartiromo if he was going to “investigate Anthony Fauci should you take the control in the majority of the House,” Jordan responded, “Yes. Yes, we definitely are.”
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein filed an amicus brief in two cases currently before the North Carolina Supreme Court urging the Court to ensure that state elections are conducted under fair maps that are free from partisan gerrymandering.
British law enforcement officials released a statement late on Sunday night stating that they have made multiple arrests in connection with a British national who took several Jewish people hostage at a synagogue in Texas over the weekend.
The Gavi Vaccine Alliance is run by the Gates Foundation and they published a paper in 2018 in which it made reference to its Infuse program. This paper should be required reading for every parent of young children.
An official with Union Pacific (UP) revealed late last week that the organization believes that approximately 90 shipping containers are compromised by theives every day


Back to Top