Halloween set to be big for retailersEven though the Christmas season is traditionally a huge time of year for most retailers, some merchants may be seeing some increased sales early this year. Halloween is right around the corner, and consumers are taking notice and splurging on costumes, decorations and treats for the holiday.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year - a record total of 170 million people. This huge number makes the holiday an ideal time for merchants to up their retail procurement, whether they plan on selling candy or costumes.

Many are spending more
"By the time Halloween rolls around each year it's safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely loved holidays of the year," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "Retailers know that when it comes to Halloween, new costume ideas for children, adults and pets, and the latest in home and yard decor top people's shopping lists. We expect retailers to stock their shelves well ahead of time to capture the attention of eager holiday shoppers."

Consumers do indeed appear to be spending more at their local retailers. The NRF reported that customers will spend an average of $79.82 on Halloween costumes, snacks and decorations. This is an increase over last year's $72.31, and merchants need to be prepared for an influx of customers finishing up their Halloween shopping in the coming week. Some stores may have increased their retail buying for this year, because the past several years have all showed strong Halloween sales, despite the shaky economy.

According to the NRF's survey, more people will be decorating and dressing up for the holiday this year, meaning merchants will need to have more goods in stock to satisfy customers searching for Halloween products. In addition to decor, costumes and candy, shoppers are also seeking supplies for holiday parties, costumes for their pets and goods such as bags for their children's candy.

Countdown to the holiday
With Halloween fast approaching, many stores are having sales to get rid of any merchandise of which they have a surplus. Because products such as candy and costumes are hugely reduced after the holiday, some stores are cutting prices slightly now to lure in customers who may still need their Halloween goods. However, with such strong sales so far, it doesn't appear as though most retailers will lose money holding large sales on their Halloween goods after the holiday.
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