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Lethbridge business owners prepare for more meager holiday shopping season

A sign shows holiday shopping hours at a Lethbridge shop on Nov. 20, 2023. A sign shows holiday shopping hours at a Lethbridge shop on Nov. 20, 2023.

Stores in Lethbridge are beginning to see more customers as Christmas gets closer.

While the holiday shopping season can be hectic and chaotic, small business owners look forward to it. 

"We have a lot of major holidays through the year, but Christmas is certainly the one that puts money in the pocket for a small business," said Colin Howe, co-owner of How Sweet Inc., a local candy shop.

However, what's usually the happiest time of year for retail owners is shaping up to be less jolly than usual.

Multiple factors including inflation, a higher cost of living and higher interest rates are expected to prompt many people to cut back on their holiday spending.

According to Deloitte Canada's 2023 holiday retail outlook, Christmas spending could reach a five year low.

The report suggests that Canadians plan to spend an average of more than $1,300 on holiday shopping this year, down 11 per cent from 2022.

"People are definitely feeling the pinch, there's no doubt about it," said Hunter Heggie, president and owner of King of Trade, a local electronics store.

"It's tighter these days and shopping patterns have changed. Online shopping is a lot more prevalent these days."

It's not just business owners in Lethbridge who are concerned; according to the downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), it could be a blue Christmas for retail across the country.

BRZ executive director Sarah Amies says people seemingly have to rein in their Christmas shopping this year.

"What that means is that people are being really careful about what they’re are purchasing."

Lethbridge's business community is asking residents to consider shopping local this holiday season.

"Supporting local is really just one of the best things you can do," Heggie said. "Because your dollars are staying in the community and that's such a big thing. All the employees here are local, we're local and it's a big factor for our local economy." Top Stories

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