HASLETT, Mich. (WLNS) — At this time of year, retailers typically try any means to lure shoppers into their stores.
While consumers are excited to take advantage of holiday weekend sales, they’re also entering stores with their minds on their wallets.
Michigan State University Interim Chairperson for the Department of Supply Chain Management Jason Miller said that’s because inflation has slowed, but it hasn’t gone away completely.
“Right now, the inflation environment is actually better than it was last year, but consumers had a lot more savings last year at this time,” Miller said.
He said that cautious customers are still out there.
Some shops have it easier than others, owners and managers said, one way to entice these consumers is with sales they can’t resist.
“Today, it’s nice and brisk,” Van Atta’s Greenhouse Sales Department Manager Lisa Bashline said. “It’s a beautiful day for shopping in the greenhouse.”
Dozens of people flocked to seasonal stores on Monday. They were on the hunt for perennials, annuals, and everything in-between.
It’s something managers at Van Atta’s in Haslett said is pretty on-trend.
“Memorial weekend is always a busy plant weekend. That and Mother’s Day weekend probably in May,” Bashline said. “Those are the two big ones.”
Even with inflation over the past couple of years, they’re happy about where things are going.
“We have had a really strong year. We’re kind of just riding that, seeing how that goes,” she added.
Miller said whether it’s a pair of pants, or a pair of plants, things seem to be getting better.
“Inflation last year at this time was running at about 6.5%, year-over-year based on the federal reserve’s preferred measure,” he said. “It’s right now down to about 4%.”
While the effects of inflation are decreasing day by day, Miller said it’s not a thing of the past.
“Some of the inflationary forces have lessened and especially gas prices are far cheaper than they were,” Miller explained. “But, on the other hand, we have a consumer that is much more cautious at the moment in terms of spending.”
Store managers said they are preparing well in advance to meet their customer’s needs.
“It’s months ahead,” Bashline said. “Because we grow so many of our own plants, that kind of thing starts for us in January. So, we’re plotting that stuff out months ahead of time, so much work in the greenhouse and behind the scenes.”
Miller added it used to be much easier to predict sales by this time of year, but ever since COVID-19 and inflation, it’s been kind of a mixed bag.
He hopes these predictions will return to normal within the next few years.