Today’s iconic, traditional start of the Christmas shopping season draws the line of demarcation between loss and profit for many of the in-store retailers, large and small, nationwide and across Northeast Mississippi.
The regional and local emphasis remains important everywhere because retailers of all sizes are a major source of jobs, add tax revenue for the state, cities and counties, and additional spending across the larger community.
In retail sales positions alone, 35,000 Mississippians are employed, but that does not include thousands of others whose jobs depend on retail sales: marketing specialists, buyers, cashiers, maintenance workers, financial/accounting/bookeeping employees and managers.
Retail sales in Northeast Mississippi so far this year exceeds $1 billion through October, the Mississippi Department of Revenue reported on its Website.
It will make a big leap forward during the rest of November and December, if past Christmas seasons are a measure – and nothing indicates otherwise.
Another layer of retail’s impact is wholesale buying completed in the state, plus contractor services and advertiser/marketing at several levels.
Thank goodness our region and state this year don’t expect a natural-disaster-related impact, as happens with hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, plus tornadoes and flooding in inland Mississippi areas. Experts have estimated that Hurricane Sandy caused a $4 billion retailing loss on the Atlantic Coat within days of its storming ashore last month.
Many Websites and blogs note these plusses in-store shopping:
• Investments in community life, with employees less likely to move elsewhere and more interested in the community’s future.
• Puts sales taxes to good use with the services and infrastructure they help provide in states like Mississippi and the small cities like the ones across Northeast Mississippi.
• Buy what you want from people you know. A nearby marketplace is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, a remarkable proportion, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Some analysts believe the consumer is coming to the rescue of the economy, and it starts where we all live.