BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — April retail and food sales are down more than 16% compared to March according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, but retail experts remain optimistic about the future.
Many stores have reopened in the last couple weeks as the state of Alabama has relaxed business restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Some had to close temporarily while others changed strategies, offering different products in different ways to meet customers’ needs. That’s something retailers are accustomed to doing, Nancy King Dennis, director of public relations for the Alabama Retail Association, says.
“Retailers are, at the core, resilient and adaptive,” Dennis told CBS 42. “And they are in communications every day with their customers. And they adjust based on their customers needs, and that’s what they’ve done throughout this unprecedented time.”
The pandemic, as difficult as it has been, hasn’t stopped some businesses from moving forward with expansion plans. Wrapsody, for example, opened a new store in Trussville Monday.
“They have other stores that have already been open, and they have a template so that they know what works,” Dennis said. “And they’re acting on that. So yeah, it’s great.”
And there’s more reason for optimism as businesses continue to reopen. Dennis says restaurants and retailers help each other because they share the same customers. With many on both sides reopening, business could improve for both going forward. In the meantime, many store owners have kept a hopeful attitude through difficult circumstances.
“Every business is based on the hope or dream of an individual or a family or a community even,” Dennis said. “And so they want those hopes and dreams to live on, just as much as the folks around them do, I think , as well.”