Business slowing down at brick and mortar stores

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is slowing down, according to the Retail Economist.  This as package delivery services like the United State Postal Service sees an increase in business.

“It’s just a package palooza!” jokes Karen Mazurkiewicz, the spokeswoman for the United State Postal Service. “It’s outrageous.”

Mazurkiewicz says things started shifting about ten years ago; they used to have two busy weeks when people would push out their holiday cards.

“It’s a great responsibility but its also a great joy for these employees to be a part of the holidays,” said the spokeswoman.

She say now, their busy season goes from November until late January – from online pre-Black Friday sales to the end of returning season. And it’s all because of online shopping.

“It really changed how Americans shop,” said Mazurkiewicz. “I think our local retailers are feeling that as more people go online to find the deals to get the items.”

New number from the retail economist reflect that – showing the busiest time of year for brick and mortar stores is slowing down. This year, November and December accounted for 21% of annual retail for physical stores. That’s down from about 25% last year and those few percentage points makes a big difference; amounting to about $70 billion in retail for shops.

The shift in shopping trends doesn’t surprise a lot of people.

“I’m a full-time student so shopping online is simple,” said Keira Grant from Buffalo.  “I feel sometimes there are better deals online and it’s easier you just swipe your card- sometimes they save it so it’s a couple buttons, just click click – I love shopping online it’s so much easier.”

Not all stores are following that trend. The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls reports their numbers are up from 2015.

“We’ve been very please with the return of Western New York customers from all over who have rediscovered outlets,” said John Doran, the mall manager for the outlets. “We think 2016 will be a very good year for us.”

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