AUSTIN (KXAN) — With four shopping days left before Christmas — Texans have been shopping in force this holiday season. The Texas Retailers Association reports sales are up 11 percent compared to this time last year — and that means seasonal jobs are also strong.
“Everything related to the holiday season, whether it’s shopping, seasonal part time work, is exceeding expectations and looking really good,” says George Kelemen, President and CEO of the Texas Retailers Association.
One of the biggest areas of growth has been with online sales after Amazon changed the game for how gifts are purchased. Kelemen says this runs the gamut from mom-and-pop shops all the way up to big box retail stores.
“They have definitely set a trend, but I think the other part of the story that isn’t being told as much is that many of those companies and stores that we have known for years have adapted and have moved to those models and you are seeing them compete very effectively for those shoppers with Amazon,” Kelemen says.
Free shipping and in-store pick up for items have also been credited with an increase in sales.
The Texas Retailers Association says a strong holiday shopping season points to a strong economy.
“The overall economy in Texas is really good,” Kelemen says. “Unemployment is very low, our economy is good, we are a little over 11 percent better in sales tax revenues than we were at this point last year, which is a huge sign given where we were in the decline with the oil sector just a few years ago.”