Higher retail sales helping Kansas businesses rebound

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The country saw its biggest monthly gain in retail sales ever at 17 percent between April and May.

That amount of growth highlights how bad things got in April because of the restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Jesse Borjon is the co-owner of the Red Door Home Store in Topeka. His store is seeing a rebound in sales after being closed in April.

“Absolutely our sales are down, but we’re starting to see that uptick. We certainly wanted to get our doors open just as quickly as we could, but we also want to offer a safe environment for our customers and we want them to feel comfortable shopping here with us,” Borjon said.

The store was forced to adapt when the physical location was shut down.

“We offered curbside pickup, delivery, and then we found ourselves doing more shipping for folks, so never really closed except that our brick and mortar, our doors were closed and you couldn’t come in an shop,” Borjon said.

Other businesses have announced they won’t reopen after being shutdown for weeks.

“The margins of many retailers and restaurants is so slim, even a month or two of limited or zero revenue can impact their survival,” Alan Cobb, president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce said.

Retail tax revenues in the state are lower than last May, but they’re beating projections by more than 12 percent.

With more people starting to spend their money, it’s helping Kansas companies stay in business.

“The public is, somewhat speaking, they’re a little cautious, but there was pent-up demand which is why the spending went up so much,” Cobb said. “Good signs, but we’re not quite out of the woods yet.”

Borjon said customers have been ready to get back in the store.

“Folks have been cooped up in their house, they’re wanting to get out, so yeah the folks that are coming in, they’re excited to be here, they’re looking for a change of scenery, and they’re wanting to see the bright colors and how we’ve put the store together,” Borjon said.

Cobb cautioned that if businesses are forced to shutdown again, more places won’t open back up when the pandemic is over.

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