By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH – One of the less popular retail holidays will get a shot in the arm from the nation’s rebounding economy and the arrival of warmer weather.
Financial strategists have predicted Father’s Day spending to reach about $12.7 billion this year in the U.S., for everything from tools to neckties.
Anthony Hester, Harbor Freight Tools store manager, said its Father’s Day Sale began this week and has produced already. As the Benton Township home improvement business has been open for one month, Hester said they expect more sales during the weekend.
“The sale just started Tuesday, but normally we see an increase in sales toward the weekend,” he said in reference to those last-minute shoppers. “This is a toy store for men. With us being the type of store we are, we will be busy this weekend.”
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the estimated $12.7 billion in sales averages out to $115.57 per person, which is a slight improvement on the $113.80 spent last year. The survey found 75.4 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday.
If the weather holds up this weekend, Harbor Shores Golf Club looks to benefit from the influx of spending on the holiday that comes around every third Sunday of June.
Golf sales director Melody Prather said they have been booking special tee times for Sunday and selling men’s apparel half off all week.
Prather said in addition to the apparel and golf, she has noticed more gift cards have been sold leading up to the holiday weekend.
“It picked up last week, and you know it was in anticipation for Father’s Day,” Prather said. “This weekend should be steady, with a possible slight increase in sales.”
At Landis Clothing Co. in downtown St. Joseph, owner Douglas Landis said his main driving force will be from his repeat customers.
Landis, who sells men’s clothing, said the focus will not only be on Father’s Day, but the days afterward.
“We have a summer sale after Father’s Day. I’m one of those who believes Father’s Day is a time to make some money,” he said. “We hold our margin because after that you discount it for the rest of summer. It’s your Christmas in June.”
One of the reasons Landis said sales will be slightly higher across the nation is not just because of the improving economy, but the cost of goods are higher all around.
Despite this, Landis said he anticipates his shirts to be a big seller for Father’s Day.
By the numbers
Nearly 40 percent of consumers who took the NRF survey said they would buy apparel – including a new dress shirt or necktie – spending $1.7 billion. Another 43.3 percent are looking for “experience gifts,” such as tickets to a game, a golf outing or a special meal, totaling $2.6 billion.
Almost 20 percent of shoppers will go the tech route.
Items like a tablet or smartphone will accumulate $1.6 billion in sales, while 39 percent will let dad pick his own gift with a gift card, spending $1.8 billion.
More than 60 percent will throw in a greeting card, equating to $777 million.
“Spending on grilling, pool gear, sporting goods, apparel and other gift and seasonal merchandise could be the positive stepping stone retailers need heading into the second half of the year,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in the survey’s report.
In the end, dads won’t make out like moms did on Mother’s Day.
While the average amount spent on dad is $115.57, mothers were given an average of $172.63 in gifts and meals this year.
The survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Father’s Day holiday. The poll of 6,087 consumers was conducted May 5-12.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 18, 2015)