ND retailers 'upbeat but conservative' in this year's Christmas outlook

Nov 23, 2017

Kirkwood Mall, Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The executive director of the North Dakota Retail Association says his members are optimistic – but conservative – in their outlook for the Christmas shopping season.

Mike Rud says nationally, retailers predict a 3.6 to 4 percent growth in Christmas sales year-over-year. Rud says earlier this fall, North Dakota stores weren’t as optimistic about those numbers.

"I'm not seeing that sense of optimism that I've seen in the past," Rud said.

But Rud said that attitude could change -- given some of North Dakota's economic factors right now.

"We're hearing good things about the crops that are coming in in eastern North Dakota," Rud said. "Hopefully that will boost the optimism."

Rud also said he think there's beginning to be a change in the attitude of people across the country.

"Hopefully, we can keep that rolling, and maybe we can beat the 3.6 to 4 percent prediction," Rud said. "But our retailers continue to be more on the conservative side."

Rud said another factor working in retailer's favor is a longer Christmas shopping season.

"We've picked up another day here, with Christmas falling on a Monday," Rud said. "That will be another full weekend of shopping."

Rud said retailers are also crossing their fingers about the weather. He said they don't want another winter like last year.

"I think we had blizzards three out of the four to five weeks we had for the Christmas shopping season, Rud said.