Big box retail good for Triangle

March 4, 2009 7:50:58 PM PST
Nationally, shoppers are spending less and most companies are cutting back, but there's at least one bright spot locally --big box retail.The Federal Reserve released its latest economic survey Wednesday afternoon. Officials found the economy slowed down more in January and February.

The report specifically mentions central North Carolina as a strong location for stores like Wal-Mart and Target, which means good business in the Triangle.

"When you want to bargain and get more stuff you usually go to Wal-Mart or like Target," Raleigh shopper Michael Byam said.

A weak economy and tight cash should mean big box stores like Target hit their mark.

"You don't want to overdo it, because you have a lot of bills to pay and like pay is going down, so you do things it's more convenient for your family," Byam said.

The Federal Reserve credits the weak economy for heavy traffic and high revenue in central North Carolina big box retailers.

An exception, when nationally Wal-Mart is the only stand out with a little more than 2 percent growth in February sales.

JC Penny's sales are expected to drop nearly 13 percent, Target nearly 5 percent and Kohl's about 4.5 percent. Officials blame widespread layoffs and hiring freezes, which makes the Triangle even more exceptional.

Kohl's hosted a job fair last month to staff a brand new Wake Forest store set to open in April.

As long as variety is there and prices are low, you can count on shoppers.

"I love to bargain shop just because it keeps my income right, so if my income ain't right then I might as well foreclose on my house," Raleigh shopper Anthony Alger said.

Some analysts believe a combination of the stimulus package and tax rebates could cause an uptick in consumer spending.

But many are skeptical the trend will last long enough to make a long term impact.


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