Retailers can expect small July 4 boost

Las Vegas retailers may see their annual July 4 sales result in a lot of bang, but no buck.

According to the National Retail Federation, most stores probably will see only a small bump in sales this weekend.

“I really don’t think Fourth of July is that big. It isn’t a retail holiday. It’s not consumer driven. In fact, the average consumer may not walk into a store,” said Kathy Grannis, spokeswoman for the organization.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Independence Day survey conducted by research firm BIGinsight, nearly half of Americans celebrating this year, or 115 million people, will attend a fireworks or community celebration, and another 35 million will attend a parade.

But, the survey found, more than 160 million people will celebrate the Fourth by hosting or attending a cookout, barbecue or picnic – all activities that benefit grocers, at least.

“The July Fourth period is typically a great time for Las Vegas customers to load up on grilling items and outdoor fun foods, and we don’t anticipate this year will be any different,” said Smith’s spokeswoman, Marsha Gilford.

BIGinsight said consumers this year are more likely to spend in the days leading up to the holiday, but couldn’t provide specific figures – the numbers are considered insignificant, so they aren’t tracked.

The average household spent about $75.50 on groceries each week in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2011, Visa Inc. found that Americans spent an average of $216 on travel, food, beverages, entertainment, fireworks and other items over the Fourth of July holiday. The survey showed that men spent an average of $247 compared with an average of $182 for women. The survey also showed that the younger a person is, the more they will spend on Fourth of July festivities.

“Grocery stores, department, discount and drug stores will benefit from the added holiday traffic as consumers stock up on food, sunscreen, beach gear and apparel for their celebrations,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director for BIGinsights.

For their part, big box stores focused their efforts on the coming holiday in this week’s ads. Target prominently featured pimped-out squirt guns, colorful flip flops and camping gear. Walmart’s weekly promo sided with the food items: $1.98-per-pound pork spare ribs and $2.98 Nathan’s Hot Dogs. Lowe’s is having a Fourth of July sale while promoting $7.94 American flag kits, $179 charcoal grills and deals on items such as insecticide.

The National Retail Federation’s survey found that nationwide, more than 48 million people – or 23 percent – said they intend to buy patriotic merchandise within the next 30 days, up from the 20.1 percent who said so last year.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at or 702-380-4588.

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