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Businesses struggling with sales during the holiday shopping season

Posted at 7:07 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 22:07:48-05

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday retail sales will grow between 3.8% to 4.2% over last year.

But here at home, many businesses aren't seeing that increase.

"We've been open for 31 years at this location, and it's definitely the slowest it's ever been in 32 years," said Kal Kastenek, Sports Forum owner.

"Compared to 2018 to now, we're definitely down," said Christine Branco, Unique Selections owner.

Some downtown San Luis Obispo business owners said they're down 20% to 30% in sales from this time last year.

The reasons, according to owners, include online shopping, lack of parking downtown, and new hotels not being open in time for the holidays.

"We were really counting on those big boutique luxury hotels to be open for the Christmas season and unfortunately they did not and so that luxury customer coming into San Luis Obispo is not really here," said Branco.

However, for some shops such as Tails Pet Boutique, business has been on the rise.

"Currently right now we're up five percent over last year," said Shelley Stuckey, Tails Pet Boutique owner.

Businesses such as Tails Pet Boutique and Unique Selections have been doing daily discounts hoping to get customers out of their house and in the door.

But sometimes cutting the price doesn't deliver results.

"I don't really think it comes down to price anymore. I have the same price that the internet will have, sometimes even cheaper. If somebody calls me I've been even willing to drop it off on my way home, if that's what it's going to take to make a sale," said Kastenek.

With a week left until Christmas, business owners hope they bank in on the those last minute shoppers.

"If you don't make it at Christmas time, make up some of your slower months throughout the year, you're not going to make it to next year," said Kastenek.

"This is it, this is our last rush and if we really don't, you know, blow it out of the park this weekend, I'll be really nervous," said Branco.

Help may be on the way for businesses as Saturday is shaping up to be the biggest shopping day of the year with close to 148 million people expected both in-store and online.