No tricks, just treats this year
Costumes, decorations and candy have become just the trick to turn Halloween into a treat for local and national retailers. "It's definitely a growth area the last three-to-five years," said Moorhead Target manager Jeff Fisher, watchi...
Costumes, decorations and candy have become just the trick to turn Halloween into a treat for local and national retailers.
"It's definitely a growth area the last three-to-five years," said Moorhead Target manager Jeff Fisher, watching a young girl flit from makeup to styrofoam pumpkins in the store's Halloween shop.
The 2002 Halloween season is expected to scare up $6.9 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
A retail federation Halloween survey shows that consumers plan to spend about $44 per household on candy, costumes and decorations this year. Last year, they said they would spend $45.
Consumers, ages 18-34, lead the charge, planning to spend $67 on fright-related goods. Those with children plan to spend $62.
Those sort of numbers have earned retail respect.
At Target, a block of space formerly filled with Christmas decorations in September, is now two-thirds filled with Halloween costumes and decorations.
Three store-front aisles are stuffed with candy, and several displays of clothing and household items are sprinkled throughout. Halloween is now the store's second-biggest sales holiday.
"The minute we set this (Halloween display), we see a lot of people in here," Fisher said. "This has a lot more selling power."
At Gompf Displays, a Fargo costume and decorating bastion, Halloween items are already being picked up.
"It's just crazy. People are celebrating Halloween," manager Debby Partridge said. "I think it's a time for an excuse for a fun party. And I think people like to dress up."
Here's how holiday sales stacked up in 2001, according to the retail federation:
E Candy: Halloween was first in sales with $2 billion. Easter came in second with $1.8 billion.
E Costumes: Halloween sales estimated at $1.5 billion.
E Greeting cards, pumpkins, party supplies: $2.7 billion.
E Home décor: Second to Christmas with $586 million in sales.
"Economic ghosts and goblins do not seem to deter consumers from Halloween spending," said retail federation President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Adults' fascination with Halloween has helped transform the holiday into a much-needed sales boost for many retailers."
And home decorating remains very popular. Fifty-percent of those surveyed by retail federation plan to decorate their homes, compared with 55 percent in 2001.
"It's definitely a growing category," said Jay Swanson, assistant manager at Scheels Hardware on University Drive South in Fargo. "We've expanded every year in recent years. It certainly doesn't approach our Christmas sales, but it's definitely growing every year."
Swanson said streamers, flags, lawn decorations and "anything that seems to have a pumpkin theme" are big sellers. Though unlike Christmas, lights are not the first thing out the door.
"Ease of installation seems to be a big thing," Swanson said. "For Halloween, they want something they can set up and take down easily."
The survey backs the perception that Halloween has shifted from a one night or one weekend holiday, into an seasonal autumn celebration, said Tom Holliday, president of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, which expands the selling window through much of September and October.
"More and more, we find retailers tying their marketing strategy to Halloween," Holliday said.
Discount retailers are scaring up most of the Halloween sales, the retail federation said, drawing about 39.1 percent of shoppers.
Specialty Halloween and supply stores pull in 25.3 percent of the business.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583