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Retail Pulse survey shows confidence dropping heading into Labor Day weekend

Things could get even more stressful for businesses heading into the fall and winter.

NORFOLK, Va. — We continue to follow the state of local retail in Hampton Roads as businesses work through unprecedented times.

Retail Alliance in Norfolk is wrapping up its latest Retail Pulse that surveys small businesses across our area.

“There was a lot of confidence back in April,” said Kylie Ross Sibert with Retail Alliance. “What’s showing in this survey is that, although there is still confidence, it’s not as strong.”

A lack of confidence was likely brought on by several changes in the last five months. Most recently the rise of the Delta variant and surging COVID-19 case numbers nationwide. But even before that, staff shortages have pushed many businesses to their limit.

While they may not get immediate relief ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend, September is bringing a potential fix to the staffing issue. Federal unemployment benefits end September 4, which could help fill vacant positions.

However, the bigger issue could come months from now. From electronics to cars, the supply chain remains a problem for local businesses. That means, once again, they could be heading into the major holiday shopping season with a lot of unknowns.

“The holiday season is such a big issue. The fourth quarter is so important for retailers,” said Ross Sibert. “Getting that product in time is a bit scary right now.”

Ross Sibert said Retail Alliance has conducted more Retail Pulse surveys during the pandemic.

The current survey will remain open through Tuesday, and they plan to hold one more this year closer to the holiday shopping season at the end of October.