Retail stores see mixed effects from financial crisis

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico

Randy Dayhoff, who owns Randy’s Shoes on Main Street, said the community’s diverse economic base and population growth from the Cannon Air Force Base expansion is shielding the local economy from a national slump in retail sale.

Dayhoff attributes an increase in work boot sales to contractors working at Cannon, while military families moving to Clovis because of the transition have offset the sales lost from regular customers.

The Commerce Department reported retail sales dropped 1.2 percent in September, the biggest decline since 2005 when retail sales fell by 1.4 percent. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economic activity.

Paul Tankersley, who owns Tankersley’s clothing store on the corner of Main and Grand streets, said sales have been soft, but he said the national election has more of an effect on sales than the economy.

“Our banks are solid, our home mortgages aren’t anything like the national home mortgage,” he said. “And we’re a growing community.”

But not all retailers have escaped the clutches of the economic slowdown.

“Obviously we’re not going to be any different from any retailer and times are tough right now,” said JC Penney Store Manager Mark Anderson. “No doubt about it.”

Anderson said while sales have been slow, he is optimistic it will pick up during the holidays.

“And we are ready with gift items for (consumers),” he said.

However retailers did see sales pick up in the last week because of the weather, Anderson said.

“And it actually played right into our best promotion of the year,” he said regarding one of four sale dates the store puts on every year.

“Consumers want to spend their money wisely and that actually plays right straight into our strength.”

Linda Padilla, who owns the Shoe String Consignment Store, said sales have picked up since the summer because of the colder weather.
“Coats are cheaper here,” she said.

But their sales during Saturdays, a usual busy day, have slowed, she said.

“(On a scale of 10) it used to be an eight or nine, now its a three,” she said. “That hurts.”