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Florida Retailers Navigate Holiday Shopping

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The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have hurt many industries, and while we hear about restaurants and hospitality, retail is also reeling.

As retail stores were forced to close during Florida’s stay at home order, small business owners like Sarah Byron of Pop Toy Co. in Naples, says they were able to remain open by adapting their sales tactics.

“Because my husband and I, this is both of our jobs, there was no other source of income,” Byron said. “There was nothing else we could do, so we had to make it work, so we did. We just figured it out and we were FaceTime shopping with people, and if I had to deliver a puzzle to Bonita, that’s what we did that day.”

While they now attend to customers in person, they are still working to adapt through a surge in cases as the holidays near by, offering on-line shopping for curbside pickup.

“It’s hard to prepare for this season because we knew that toy companies were going to be in short supply on things, so we knew we had to kind of order early,” Byron said. “But then it’s a little bit scary, you don’t know if you’re going to order so much and there’s not going to be any shoppers, we didn’t know if there was going to be another shutdown.”

Byron said their store has had a busy lead up to the holiday and they’re pretty much on par with last year’s sales.

Amanda Bevis of the Florida Retail Federation said retail stores depend on strong sales in the month of November and December in order to hit their annual goals.

“Retailers obviously want to capitalize on when the consumers plan to shop, so we saw some Black Friday sales start earlier in the year,” Bevis said. “Some started as early as November, and also they’re urging consumers to take advantage of opportunities early because of shipping and logistical delays that might affect availability later in the season.”

Despite the financial hardships 2020 has brought, Bevis is projecting, on average, consumers in Florida will spend $997 on gifts this year. That’s only 50 dollars less than last year.