Alabama holiday sales to exceed $11.5 billion, ARA predicts

Huntsville Christmas
Huntsville at Christmas

The holiday season is officially here, and Alabamians are expected to spend more than ever this year on gifts and other holiday-related purchases.

Holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — are expected to increase as much as 2 percent this year, reaching up to$11.5 billion, according to the Alabama Retail Association (ARA), which has represented state retailers for more than 70 years. In 2016, sales were $11.43 billion.

As the busiest shopping weeks of the year approach, the Alabama Retail Association will kick off its annual “Shop Alabama for the Holidays” tour on Friday, Nov. 10. Partnering with local retailers, elected officials and business leaders throughout the state, the ARA will host a multi-city news conference tour to encourage Alabamians to spend their holiday shopping and dining dollars locally. Stops on the tour include Cullman, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery.

The “Shop Alabama” season is also being accompanied by an online campaign. Using the hashtag #BabyItsSoldInside, to celebrate the in-store shopping experience

Beyond Black Friday

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday get all the attention in the news,  Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the holiday season.

RetailNext, a firm that tracks retail shopper traffic, attributes the shift from Black Friday shopping due to the fact it’s no longer a one day affair. Black Friday is now “a month-long shopping event that starts as soon as the trick-or-treaters turn in on Halloween.”