The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Business & Industry

March 29, 2010

Anderson retailers hit softer in 2009 than 2008

Consumers sought deals, essentials

ANDERSON, Ind. – In the depths of a national recession, local retailers say consumers spent less in 2009 and focused more on necessities and deals than in 2008, but times are looking up for 2010.

“Luxury and unnecessary items seems to have taken a bigger hit than necessary items,” said Anderson Economic Development Director Linda Dawson, of her discussions with business owners. “This recession had an effect on all retailers.”

David Ward, president of office supplier Miller Huggins, said furniture sales were down 28 percent from 2008, and office supplies were down five percent.

“Basically, it kind of sucked, for a lack of a better word,” Ward said. “Big ticket items were just way off. As far as supplies and stuff, it was OK.”

He added that although office supplies are a necessity for offices to run, consumers bought the bare minimum to fill their needs.

No matter the economy, however, consumers must purchase food. But, said Harvest Supermarket Chief Operating Officer Don Murphy, they still aim for the deal.

“People are doing a lot more value shopping,” he said. “Whatever you have a special on attracts them more than it did in years past.”

Murphy said consumers also bought cheaper versions of products.

“It wasn’t a banner year, but it wasn’t a bad one,” he said. “What we experienced is that a lot of people traded down.”

Downtown gift shop Moneyhun’s said that being a store full of what some would call luxury items didn’t stop shoppers from spending money there. Co-owner Nancy Moneyhun said people focused on less-expensive items.

“They may not have bought as much but they still were buying,” Moneyhuns said of 2009 sales.

Unlike Huggins and Murphy, Moneyhun said 2009 sales were better than 2008. But all three businesses have high hopes for 2010.

“People are tired of being frugal, and so I think they’ll spend a little more, maybe,” Moneyhun said. “Or treat themselves once in a while.”

Contact Christina M. Wright, 640-4883,

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