Wichita businesses are seeing shoppers sooner ahead of Christmas shopping season

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Retail sales are surging ahead of the holidays. Many people are buying sooner rather than later as they try to avoid supply chain issues.

It is a welcome change after struggles from the pandemic.

“Last year, it was so slow. I only had one assistant help me,” explained Aida Stenholm, owner of a handmade shoe boutique in Clifton Square.

However, it has not been the case for Stenholm this year. Instead, orders are pouring in for her handmade shoes.

“You usually wait a week for a pair of shoes. Now, you have to wait three weeks. So I have my other lady coming in full-time. I have my other lady usually come one or two days a week, now they coming four days,” Stenholm said.

Whether it’s for shoes or something sweet, business owners have noticed an increase in customers coming in.

“We’ve already seen quite a bit of a pickup in sales. Our customers really seem to be willing to get out and spend a little bit of money and are anxious to shop when they weren’t able to do that last year,” said Derek Sorrells, Sweet ‘n Saucy owner.

So, what’s causing everyone to hit their shopping lists sooner than usual?

“This year, with supply chain shortages and the news and things like that, I think people are aware that if they want to get something, you gotta go ahead and start now,” said Kevin Wildt, Vortex Souvenir co-owner.

“We have all these stories out there that put some fear in the households to go and consume earlier. This storm is getting people up and moving, which is a good thing for the economy,” explained Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economics and Business Research at Wichita State University.

Hill says this is especially beneficial for small businesses.

“More people are shopping local and prioritizing that for the holiday season because they know it helps out their community, and they can also find something more unique that they can give to their friends or their family,” Wildt said.

Hill says he expects the increase in retail sales to flatten out in December due to the early shoppers.

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