Spokane-area retailers say they are planning for strong sales next year.
Bryn West, general manager for River Park Square, says the downtown shopping center expects to see an overall 3 percent increase in sales in 2014, which is on par with the prediction from the International Council of Shopping Centers for national retail sales, she says.
West says retailers at River Park Square have been offering competitive deals throughout the holiday season to try to counter the predicted 40 percent growth in online sales this year. The retail center also focuses on selling the whole shopping experience, not just products, West says.
“We look at online sales as a segment of the industry,” she says. “It’s hard to buy cosmetics online, or to go to a movie or dinner online. We try to think of River Park Square as an experience, not just a purchase.”
West says River Park Square has some new plans for the second floor of the retail center, but she declines for now to provide more details.
For 2013, West says traffic at River Park Square was up 8 percent. She says it was on track to achieve its predicted 3 percent sales growth this year as well, until the government shutdown.
“We were on track for that this year, but the government furloughs affected consumer confidence,” she says. Since people weren’t shopping as much during the shutdown, West says, there was some pent-up demand that is now surfacing.
Spokane boutique Swank, owned by Jody Mallonee, which operates out of its 4727 N. Division store and mobile boutique Swank a-go-go, also is confident for next year.
“This year we’re up 15 percent from last year,” she says. “I think our yields year over year will continue to increase.”
Mallonee says the shop had enough success this year that she decided to open an outlet in Boise, Idaho, which she says is doing so well that she will probably open another store there.
Automotive retailers, part of an industry that has seen significant growth in the last few years, are predicting a strong 2014 as well.
Shayne Goff, general manager for Spokane auto retailer Wendle Motors, says that the market has been on the rise since 2008, and he expects that to continue.
“The economic forecast we’ve heard is that it will keep increasing,” he says. “Locally, for us, every franchise we have is trending up.”
Wendle sells Ford, Nissan, and Infinity from its dealership at 9000 N. Division, on Spokane’s North Side. Goff says that there are a few new models slated to be released next year, which could help boost sales. He also says, based off what industry leaders have said, that financing and lending trends are on track for next year.
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