The Alabama Retail Association predicts a 3 percent increase in holiday spending over last year and local retailers are expected to feel the growth, according to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Holiday spending across Alabama is expected to increase by about 3 percent over last year, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

And for local businesses, this comes as welcome news.

Pasquale Tosyali recently opened BOSSI, a boutique offering women's athleisure wear and on-the-go accessories, in The Downtown Plaza shopping center at 418 Queen City Ave.

“I’m hoping the holidays are going to bring sales for me,” the first-time business owner said. “I’m still trying to get my name out there and let people know that now there’s a storefront.”

Tosyali began the business as a pop-up with random hours before moving into the downtown space about a month ago. Her store now is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

So far, she said, the experience has been “unique.”

“It’s been fun getting to work with the community and working to bring people in,” she said. “I’m just trying to add something different to the community that we don’t already have here. And not just for the students, but for our locals, too.”

Tosyali and local retailers like her can expect to see a spike in sales as the holidays approach, said Jim Page, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Like the Alabama Retail Association, Page urges shoppers to shop local and shop Alabama throughout the year, especially during the holiday shopping period, as Tuscaloosa’s sales market typically follows the state and national trends.

The forecast for this holiday season is for increases across the board.

“From a local perspective, I think our demographics will be in line with the state and national levels, mainly, because of (high) employment and consumer confidence factors,” Page said. “And specifically for this market, the amount of retail growth we’ve had in recent years just provides more opportunities to shop.”

According to the Alabama Retail Association, shoppers across the state should spend about $362 million more during the holidays this year than last year.

The association’s prediction of taxed sales for those months indicates that, during the holiday shopping months of November and December, Alabamians will buy more than $12.4 billion in goods.

This represents a 3 percent increase beyond the $12 billion spent in the 2018 holiday shopping period.

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That state projection lines up with the national holiday forecast, which calls for growth between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent throughout the country.

Through July of this year, Alabama averaged 5.5 percent growth in regular sales tax collections each month over the same month last year.

When factoring in what Alabama has collected in sales taxes from out-of-state, online-only retailers, that growth jumps to 11 percent in total taxed sales through July.

However, in the prior two years, Alabama’s taxed sales during the holiday shopping period has grown an average of 2.75 percent.

This will be the second holiday shopping season with most out-of-state sellers remitting sales taxes through Alabama’s Simplified Sellers Use Tax program and economic nexus rule, but it will be the first with sales tax collections remitted by marketplaces that collect for third-party vendors.

Alabama Retail Association’s 3 percent holiday growth prediction is for all holiday taxed sales, including those from remote sellers.

Taxed holiday sales in 2018 in the state totaled $12.069 billion, a jump of 2.66 percent over 2017 holiday sales, according to numbers provided by the Alabama Revenue Department.

 

Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0200.