Department store joy this season?

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Hugo Rodriguez, 24, of Pacoima said he likes department stores because of the wide selection. “They have it, from shoes to jewelry,” Rodriguez said while shopping at the Northridge Fashion Center. Rodriguez also likes department stores’ prices. “They have good stuff for cheaper,” he said. Only 25 percent of shoppers said they would buy items from catalogs, which are fighting to gain back the 37 percent of shoppers who used them in 2002. Discounters will attract 70 percent of shoppers this holiday season – a shade more than department stores – but that is down from 77 percent four years ago. More Christmas shoppers will toss aside their catalogs this year and head to department stores for a hands-on, holiday retail experience, according to a survey released Monday. “There seems to be a renewed interest in shopping at department stores,” said Scott Krugman, spokesman at the National Retail Federation. All-in-one retailers like Macy’s, Sears, and Bloomingdale’s are expected to gain shoppers this season while discounters and catalogs lose them. Some 62 percent of shoppers will head to the department store to fulfill their holiday shopping list, up from 53 percent in 2002, according to a survey by the federation. And the trend could last: Department stores are especially appealing to consumers between the ages of 18 and 25. Four out of five shoppers in this age group said they would shop at department stores during the holidays, according to the federation survey. If department stores can mold these buyers into loyal customers, their numbers will blossom, according to retail expert Kurt Barnard. “Department stores were dowdy and boring, to put it politely,” Barnard said. “That is in the process of changing and the change is not complete. It has a long way to go.” Elizabeth Freire doesn’t plan to step inside a department store for any of her holiday gifts. She will get everything on her list from outlets. “They are cheaper than regular stores,” said Freire, 25, of Granada Hills, as her three children played in the mall. Department stores offer a smattering of the gifts people want to receive: clothes, accessories, and gift cards. Books, tech toys, DVDs, and video games also top the list of what people want to find under the tree. Buying everything on the average consumer’s list will cost $791, according to the federation. Plus, more than half of shoppers plan to buy nongift items as they go on sale during the holidays, adding an additional $99 to their tab. Holiday sales are expected to increase a modest 5 percent this year, according to the federation. It’s still too early to tell if dropping gas prices will boost holiday spending, Krugman said. “It depends on where they are in November,” he said. “But if it’s any indication this could provide a nice little boost for the holidays.” (818) 713-3735 POPULAR PLACES TO SHOP Where do you plan to purchase holiday items this year? Discount store: 70% Department store: 62% Grocery store/supermarket: 49% Specialty store: 48% Online: 47% Catalog: 25% The percentages add up to more than 100% because those polled could select multiple answers. Source: BIGresearch160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more