State retail survey finds many down in sales

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MONTGOMERY — A survey of 109 businesses by the Alabama Retail Association finds that 57 percent saw a decrease in sales for November and December when compared to the same two months a year ago.

Retail Association spokeswoman Nancy Dennis says 27 percent reported an increase and 16 percent reported sales stayed about the same.

Dennis says increases were reported by most in the grocery, electronic and alcoholic beverages categories. Most of those in the clothing category reported a decline.

A member of the Retail Association’s board, marketing expert Robert Robicheaux at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said many people have cut back on spending even though they have no expectation of losing a job or a reduction in income. He said national leadership needs to calm the fears of consumers and then consumers need to start spending confidently, but smartly.