Brick and mortar shops still winning the competition with online retail giants

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - It's crunch time for holiday shoppers. Many are hitting stores to check off their Christmas lists. But more people than ever have been doing that from the comfort of their homes this year - with online sales soaring. In fact, according to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday sales broke a record this year.

With online sales on the rise, WHNT News 19 takes a closer look at how small businesses have been working to compete.

It's looking a lot like Christmas in downtown Huntsville as people load their cars with presents.

Toy Place Downtown Owner Susan Blevins is staying busy with the influx of shoppers.

"Thank you so much. Y'all have a Merry Christmas," she said to a customer leaving her shop.

It has been merry indeed at the shop.

"This has been the best Christmas since I've been in business," she exclaimed.

Elitaire Boutique owner Kayla Adams is seeing an uptick in business also.

"We've had a great season, honestly we've grown," she added.

But giant online retailers like Amazon are also having a great year. The Alabama Retailers Association says online sales are rising twice as fast as brick and mortar sales on an annual basis. Even though online sales are growing at a faster pace, officials with the association say those sales only make up about 10 percent of all retail sales. They add that sales are up at brick and mortar stores this year.

"At least in the November sales, that the numbers are pretty much right on par with what we predicted Alabamians to spend and that is a 4.5% increase this holiday season over last holiday season," communications manager Melissa Warnke said.

That being said, local shops are still working to compete with online retailers.

Adams explained how Elitare competes.

"When Elitare was made, we strategically picked brands you might, can find some places online, but you're more likely to find them in a boutique so we made sure that way we can compete with online shopping," Adams explained.

At the Toy Place Downtown, Blevins says her customers are her secret to success.

"We have a tremendously loyal customer base that has really embraced the spirit of this store," she said.

Believe it or not, one of the busiest shopping days at brick and mortar stores is still yet to come. The Saturday before Christmas, which is also referred to as 'Super Saturday,' is projected to closely follow Black Friday sales.

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