HOLIDAY OUTLOOK

Retailers and wholesalers polled by SN are optimistic about prospects for a merry and profitable holiday season this fourth quarter."At the rate we have purchased so far, we expect about a 25% increase this year," said Doug Lowe, director of HBC/GM, K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va."Even through a bad economy, we did well last year in the holiday season and I am going full steam ahead this season

Retailers and wholesalers polled by SN are optimistic about prospects for a merry and profitable holiday season this fourth quarter.

"At the rate we have purchased so far, we expect about a 25% increase this year," said Doug Lowe, director of HBC/GM, K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va.

"Even through a bad economy, we did well last year in the holiday season and I am going full steam ahead this season also," said Larry Schimpf, director, HBC/nonfoods, Clemens Markets, Kulpsville, Pa.

"If the economy is doing well and starting to come back, I think Christmas could be pretty good, although I don't think it will be anything exceptional," said Jeff Manning, managing partner, F&M Merchant Group, Lewisville, Texas. "Even if there is a little bounce in the economy, it could be pretty soft because people are still pretty scared."

"I think this holiday season has a chance to be a good one," said Dan Spears, director of nonfoods, Ingles Markets, Asheville, N.C. "A lot of it is going to be based on how the economy is. Money has been a little tight and everybody is trying to sell what they can."

"Our concern is still the economy," said Larry Ishii, general manager, GM/HBC, Unified Western Grocers, Commerce, Calif. "Many of our customers scaled back their ordering a little bit in the spring. Halloween was strong. Christmas was a bit lighter."

Affiliated Foods, Amarillo, Texas, held its holiday show for imports in February, "and it was the best show we ever had. So our stores are looking forward to a really good holiday season," said George Satterwhite, director of nonfoods.

"I'm expecting a bit of an upturn this year because we've been flat for two or three years and I think the market is going to be recovering by then," said Charles Yahn, vice president, non-foods division, Associated Wholesalers, York, Pa.

Steve Urgo, GM buyer/merchandiser, Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto, Calif., sees a "good selling season" this year with no decline. "We are going to be promoting it aggressively. Our purchasing patterns are similar to last year, so I don't expect anything different."