Sunday was a busy day for residents and business owners in Philadelphia. The city hosted its holiday season open house in order to give customers a jump on holiday shopping and the city a boost to it's economy.
Chatter filled the stores throughout downtown Philadelphia. People strolled along the sidewalks of Philadelphia. And shoppers filled their bags with goodies. It was all a part of the city's open house in order to really kick off the holiday season. But more importantly, it gave the city a small economic boost.
"It has been great. We've really enjoyed it. It has been a great turn out for antiques. We don't get quite as much business as the retailers, but I've enjoyed seeing some of the people who can't come in during the week. So this really kicks off the holiday season," said Clara Sims, owner of Pickens St. Antique Mall.
That's something Dawn Lea Chalmers can easily agree with. She is the co-owner of Kademi and is ready to bring in new customers.
"Well it's great exposure and we get the chance to show the new merchandise that we have for this holiday season. It's a chance for us to kind of do it up right and show all of our customers our great holiday merchandise that we have for the season. Our town does a great job of promoting this event and it just brings everybody out and everybody is festive. It's just a good day for Philadelphia," said Chalmers.
The National Retail Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, predicts that sales for the holiday season, which includes November and December, will rise by about 2.3 percent in 2010, an increase that would put national retail sales this year at around $447 billion.
That would be the best season since 2007, when sales topped $452 billion. And it would be a decent recovery from 2008, when sales fell to $435 billion, a 3.9 percent decline from the year before.
Local business owners are hopeful for a busy season.
"My business partner, Kim, and I, are just excited to see everybody. It is not like this on a normal average day, but we hope from here on out it kicks off the holiday season, that it will be like this from here to Christmas," said Chalmers.
"Oh it's bringing in the out-of-towners that normally would not come Saturday or throughout the week by being open on Sunday afternoons," said Sims. "I think it's going to prepare all of the businesses. We've come together this past week. We've decorated the town. It's brought a lot of us closer together."