Some Hermosans Hold Off on Back-to-School Shopping

Certain stores are reluctant to roll out the backpacks, lunch boxes and other supplies as cost-conscious buyers wait for September sales.

It's August and many students will be going back to class in just a few weeks, but some shoppers and downtown business owners say they're not quite ready for the back to school season.

Stores are waiting a couple of more weeks before stocking up on No. 2 pencils, college-ruled paper and uniform polo shirts, according to downtown business owners.

"I feel like the summer hasn't even happened yet," said  Sol Baby owner Gina Rothwell.

The hip and trendy store for toddlers and tots will start selling lunch boxes and backpacks later this month, she said.

"Considering it's already August, though, we want to portray that time of the season, so I'll put up a window display for back-to-school soon," Rothwell said.

Certain stores may be reluctant to roll out the school supplies because some consumers are showing no hurry to shop for them yet. Redondo Beach resident Alma Navarro, who often shops in Hermosa, plans to start writing a shopping list two weeks before the school year starts.

"It's been financially hard," said Navarro, who has two children in college and one starting his senior year in high school. "From the dorm shopping to new clothes, I'd rather wait for all the sales."

Hermosa Beach resident Elissa Katz also said that financial constraints are a reason she plans to postpone shopping. She plans to spend $500 to $800 on getting her two children ready for school, she said.

"I'm expecting to see the sales around September, so I'll probably start shopping around then," Katz said.

But as potential customers wait, stores grow more desperate for the surge in business back-to-school shopping usually brings.

Taxable retail sales at malls throughout L.A. County dropped 14 percent in 2009, according to a report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. , which offers a bleak forecast for this year's sales.

John Leininger, manager of Becker Surf and Sport on Pier Avenue, blames a  decline in business not only on countywide economic woes, but also on Pier Avenue construction.

"The construction [has] taken a toll on us here," said Leininger, who is hopeful that sales will pick up with back-to-school shoppers.

"Maybe in about two weeks we'll start seeing more shoppers and that should speed up business," he said.

Lori Ford, owner of Pier Avenue shop Gum Tree, said that the city may see a back-to-school themed First Thursdays event around the time kids head to class, which could boost sales. Ford organizes the city's monthly event in which stores stay open late, host live music and offer discounts. 



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