The campaign to get more shoppers to buy local, thereby sending more tax revenue to City Hall, comes after the city got stuck with a slow first quarter.
Unemployment rates remain high and real estate values low; and weak consumer confidence and tight credit have contributed to a slowing in overall spending, city officials said.
That in turn has hurt city revenues, with Financial Services Director Bill Yeomans recommending a $2.7-million reduction to the city’s sales tax forecast.
“[It] reflects the weakness in the general economy during the recession,” he said. “For example, Los Angeles County as a whole was down in sales tax 20%.”
Holiday sales represent 30% of annual sales tax revenue, with one cent of every dollar contributing to the city’s coffers, he added.
But despite the city campaign, the outlook for holiday spending remains bleak.
Americans expect to spend nearly $640 on Christmas gifts, equal to record lows from November and December 2008, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.
Holiday retail industry sales are expected to decline by 1% to $437.6 billion, significantly below the 10-year average of 3.39% seasonal growth, the National Retail Federation’s forecast shows.
Malls and shopping centers are offering deals and giveaways to bring hesitant buyers through their doors, including free gift cards, complimentary services like gift wrapping and snacks, and giveaways of laptops and iPods.
Target began its campaign early, with gifts below $15 and clothing from designers’ collections for less than $25.
The mega-store at Empire Center also put forth a low-price promise: They’ll match locally advertised prices from competitors.
And Toys “R” Us announced what it’s calling one of the biggest toy sales ever: 6,000 toys for less than $10.
“The merchants understand what they need to do,” Faulk said.
He added that those participating in Shop Burbank “feel that someone is advocating on their behalf.”