Retailers hope for holiday sales boost

By Nina Gougis

Local retailers can expect a healthy boost this year, thanks to a steady growth in holiday spending estimates and fewer residents traveling elsewhere to shop, officials said.

The holiday season is very important to the local economy, said Kim Kubiak, executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Because more retailers are moving to DeKalb, consumers have more choices and are less likely to travel elsewhere to do their shopping, she said.

“Fortunately, retailers have noticed DeKalb, which in turn has narrowed our leakage,” Kubiak said. “This means people don’t have to travel east or north to pursue their shopping needs.”

During November and December, the average consumer is estimated to spend more than $700, with women spending slightly more than men, according to the National Retail Foundation Web site.

The average woman is estimated to spend $707 in gifts, decorations and food, while the average man spends about $696.

Others, like Heather Bahnsen, president of Fleur Furnishings, 251 E. Lincoln Highway, said the store’s close proximity is an advantage because it allows residents to become familiar with their products.

“Customers don’t want to travel to another city if they can get quality furniture at home,” Bahnsen said.

For other stores, distance is not as much of a factor. Megan Morrison Home and Garden, 237 E. Lincoln Highway, has attracted many customers from nearby towns such as St. Charles and Geneva because of its unique merchandise, said owner Megan Morrison. The store sells clothing, lotion and home and garden decorations.

Because of so many outside visitors, other residents who travel elsewhere to shop have never been a concern for Morrison, even though the business she gets from October to December makes up 40 percent of the store’s annual income.

To learn more on the holiday spending forecast, visit the NRF Web site at