Brighter forecast ahead for fall selling season

For some retailers, their busy season is about to begin. That would include Eric Buehler, owner of Carpets Plus ColorTile in Thayne, Wyo. “Because we live in a seasonal resort area in Wyoming, October and November are busy for us,” he said. “Sales are still strong, walk-in traffic has slowed a bit but new construction and commercial business is staying strong.”

For Marjorie Benson, owner of Friendly Floors in Port Charlotte, Fla., the unrelenting summer heat will soon give way to more favorable conditions. “Our season is when the snowbirds make their way south to escape their winters,” she said.

But before the industry does its happy dance, there remain issues of concern that could dilute sales over the next few months. In housing hotbed Boise, Idaho, there is some hesitancy among consumers creeping in, observers say.

“We’ve certainly seen a slow-down across all elements of the business except for commercial,” said Casey Dillabaugh, president of Dillabaugh’s Flooring America, which operates three locations. “That said, we’re in one of the hottest markets in America over the past two years. A correction here should be felt a little more. The unfortunate part is we’re still in a market that is ‘feeling itself out’—for lack of a better term—and until we start to see some clarity in key areas, I would expect to continue to see hesitation. Whether it’s inflation concerns, raw material costs, interest rates, a cooling housing market and, of course, an upcoming election, folks would like to have some level of predictable stability. Until that stability happens, I’d expect a moderate cool down to continue.”

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