Having endured slow summer sales, many Three Village retail businesses are eager to see what Labor Day weekend holds in store as the unofficial start of the fall season.
At Chico's in Stony Brook, Labor Day weekend is the time when customers begin coming in for jackets, pants, and other fall items.
"By Labor Day, parents will have already spent their budget on their children, and now they're looking to get a few things for themselves," said Kerry Falcone, sales associate at Chico's for more than four years. "We do really well in September."
A local expert in national retail sales trends confirmed that fall and its built-in back-to-school rush is huge, second only to the Christmas season. But he was cautious in making a prediction for this year, given the current less-than-robust economic climate.
"There will always be higher sales this time of year, but I don't think it's going to be extraordinary," said Andrew Spieler, Ph.D., associate professor of finance at Hofstra University. "If I was a retailer, I would be expecting higher sales than a month or two ago, but probably not historically that impressive."
To encourage traffic, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization is sponsoring a Customer Appreciation Day at the Stony Brook Village Center on Sept. 6, where many stores will be offering discounts.
At Wish in Stony Brook, owner Marci Nixon has seen the back-to-school rush move from mid-August into September. But she's not counting on Labor Day weekend for a bump in sales.
"This is the last hurrah," Nixon said. "Families are doing their thing."