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Economy

Shoppers are Vaccinated, Ready to Return to Stores

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Retailers said they’re seeing an eager return to stores after more than a year of customers shopping largely online during the pandemic. 

   

Jennifer Rook is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Michigan Retailers Association. 

“So people are returning to the stores. There’s definitely an increased traffic to stores in Michigan but the online ordering is staying steady as well,” she said. “So what you could probably attribute that to people have their routine habits now established of what they’re ordering.”   

 

Rook said the demand for online shopping is expected to stay the same with an increase of mobile orders, curbside, and home deliveries. 

 

With the rise of face-to-face shopping, Rook said people have even begun Christmas shopping.

 

“Overall retailers in Michigan are very optimistic about holiday sales. There’s been pent-up spending or as I’ve heard revenge spending that consumers are going to go probably spend just as much or more than last year. ”

 

Looking ahead to the fall, Rook said back-to-school shopping is likely to top pre-pandemic levels as parents and kids seek a fresh start. 

 

Rook said this sales season is typically a major driver for retailers as families buy school supplies, clothes, and college dorm decor. 

 

She said although back-to-school sales are expected to return to normal, retailers are struggling to find employees.

“Retailers don’t have the labor force they’re really struggling in that regard. You probably see help-wanted signs everywhere. This is another thing because as more consumers come into the store you need more workers so you have to balance it out.”

Rook said retailers are also struggling with supply chain issues... like not having enough inventory. She said the problem should work itself out by the end of the year. 

 

 

This story was This story was produced as part of the Michigan News Group Internship. A collaboration between WCMU and eight local newspapers. You can read a print version of the story in the Big Rapids Pioneer