Retailers see drop in Halloween sales

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/10/28/retailers-see-drop-in-halloween-sales

With spooky seasonal sales figures, retailers are hoping customers will open their wallets and spend big for Halloween this weekend.

“We’re down about 20, 25% over last year,” said Canadian Tire’s Merivale Rd. store manager Bob Starmans.

That could be due to consumers shopping at specialty stores instead, because they don’t appear to be tightening their belts.

South-Ottawa resident Craig Smith and his wife Amanda are throwing a Halloween party for their sons Chad, 6, and Mitch, who’s 2.

Since they’ll be entertaining about 10 kids, they’re actually spending more this year.

“Probably about close to $200,” said Smith.

Even with the uncertainty of world markets, “we’re just kind of going with the flow,” said Smith.

“We didn’t change any of our spending habits this year because of the economy.”

Neither did Rene Perrier from Nepean, who says he doled out “about $200 to $300 bucks on candies and odd decorations.”

Barrhaven resident Candace Bansie paid $80 for outdoor decorations at Spirit Halloween, also on Merivale Rd., and plans to drop $200 in total.

“That’s what we normally spend,” said Bansie.

Carleton University business professor Ian Lee attributes this consumer behaviour to the strong local economy.

“We do not experience the depths of recession that cities that have a much larger private-sector experience,” said Lee.

“So we don’t have the lows but we also don’t experience the highs.”

But it’s not all gravy for specialty stores, who are seeing a slight drop in sales.

“Overall, maybe we’re down 5%,” said Nick Hemm, part owner of Spirit Halloween.

Bucking the trend, superhero costumes are selling fast.

“Everybody waits until the last minute,” said Hemm.

Canadian Tire is slashing prices before Halloween to make way for Christmas merchandise.

@ottawasunkroche

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