Why Christmas retail is like David vs. Goliath

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 12/10/2013 6:58 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - December may be the designated month for Christmas shopping but it's also the time when small retailers fight to survive against major retail corporations.

"It's a very competitive time in the market place and it's critical to many retailers that they have a successful holiday season," said Chattanooga Better Business Bureau president Jim Winsett.

The success is based on how retailers compete with each other for that almighty American dollar.

Giorgio Men's Warehouse and  K, a boutique by Katherine Roberts are two small retailers in Chattanooga that must compete with large retail corporations at the Hamilton Place Mall.

"If you're not a large retailer and you don't have a national known presence or a large presence in the community from the beginning then it's very difficult to compete with the large chains," said Giorgio store manager Pierre Dabit.

Giorgio Men's Warehouse has deep roots in Chattanooga that span more than 30 years. Its owned and operated by three generations of the same family. K has been around for three years and continues to grow a reputation in the community by taking part in various causes that are vital to the community.

"We've established and are establishing a nice clientele," said K owner Katherine Roberts Burger.

"We try to offer different kind of sales and different promotions; however what we really try to compete on is personal service.," Dabit said.

Personal service is that one aspect of business where small local retailers must excel if they plan to compete with major stores in December.

Those major retail corporations are offering incredible holiday deals because they buy and sell their product in bulk. They also spend millions of dollars in advertising which gives them an advantage over small local retailers.

"You have to create that uniqueness of the product and the service must be to  be attractive," Winsett said.

"Whatever you're small business might be, really focus on what your customer wants that time of year and don't panic throughout the whole holiday season. I think there's a real panic to pull in the big numbers for the fourth quarter," Burger said.

Unfortunately when small businesses can't compete with major corporations, those small shops eventually close for good.

"We as a consumer want that convenience of those shops being in our neighborhood so we simply have to support them," Winsett said.
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