A report released today by Greater Louisville Incorporated (GLI) shows that the area’s annual “Christmas in July” sales failed to significantly increase local economic growth. This marks the third consecutive year that similar numbers have been reported, a disappointment for GLI spokesperson Abby Vonnegut.
“It is unfortunate that Christmas in July fell short of (economic) forecasts again this year. (GLI) really thought with increased participation from local merchants that we would see significant growth, especially with the Southeast Mattress Retailers Association committing all of their members to Christmas in July incentives and sales”, said Vonnegut. “We really thought those mattresses and bedding products were going to move the needle (this year),” Vonnegut said.
Billy Pilgrim, a District Manager for Mattress Depot, says the hot weather may have kept some buyers indoors this July, and admits that the promotion offered at his stores may not have resonated with consumers.
“We did a buy three, get one 50% off mattress sale, which we thought was a great ‘Christmas in July’ promotion. Well, apparently not too many people need to buy four (mattresses) at the same time,” said Pilgrim.
Despite the gloominess of the report, some local businesses reported positive results from their Christmas in July sales.
“Hell yeah, it was a success”, said sales manager Dwayne Hoover of Hyundai on Hurstbourne. “I moved an ’09 Elantra that’s been sitting on our lot since January. Our (Christmas in July) offer of a two-night stay at that French Lick resort place didn’t hurt in me (selling) that particular vehicle.”
Hoover also credits the trend of hiring an employee to stand out by the street and wave signs to attract potential customers.
“We had some kid out there, waving some sign about a Christmas in July blowout sale. Had him dressed in a Santa outfit and everything, dancing around like a crazy person. Now, if that doesn’t make you want to come visit a car lot and buy a pre-owned Hyundai and an unbeatable price, I don’t know what will”.
Economist and UofL professor Eliot Rosewater says that seasonal and so-called “gimmick” sales promotions are not as popular today as they were in the past.
“Consumers today can find sale prices and special promotions on their laptops, tablets, or smart phones in a matter of seconds. Perceived or real, (consumers) believe that these online sales are just as attractive as the ‘gimmick’ sales put on by traditional retailers, such as the recent ‘Christmas in July’ offers, so they are less likely to (visit) brick and mortar retailers during such sale events,” Rosewater said.
Viable or not, Hoover says that his dealership will continue with seasonal sales promotions, and that he looks forward to next year’s “Christmas in July”.
“Look, two-thirds of our sales staff made quota in July. I only had to fire four people last month. That hasn’t happened since our ‘Presidents Day Blowout’ in February”.
Hoover said that Hyundai on Hurstbourne is going to add additional seasonal and holiday sales later this year, including a new “Independence Day in November” promotion.
“We think ‘Independence Day in November’ could be huge. That kid will be out near the street, dressed like Abe Lincoln, waiving that damn (sign) again. We’ll be offering free fireworks if you test drive a new Hyundai. And if you buy any vehicle on our lot, you’ll have the choice of a new Weber grill or an unprecedented finance offer – Buy during ‘Independence Day in November’, and make no payments until next year’s ‘Christmas in July’. I don’t see anyone passing that deal up”.
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