Economy slowly bouncing back, auto sales lead the way

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) According to retailers around the Grand Strand, cash is slowly beginning to flow again. Another good sign? Business is growing in the Market Common, as a new store will be turning on their lights for the first time soon.

More businesses are saying they're seeing some sparks in sales. Electronics and appliance stores say the economy has driven some prices down, which is causing consumers to start buying more.

Consumer spending has always been an economic indicator of our economy's health. Retail sales rose slightly in September, which seems to be easing the worries of another recession. Years before, it was easier to tell how well sales were going to be in upcoming months, but now, businesses are just looking to keep going forward.

"I look for a good holiday season. I don't really expect a great one," said Keith Ferrell with AVAC Superstore. "But right now I think in this economic time, I think a good holiday is about as much as you can expect and is a great thing for retailers. At least we're not going backwards, we're still going forward."

The National Retail Federation expects sales to grow almost three percent over the next couple of months, and local businesses are hoping to cash in on that forecast.

There's one industry that's helped to really push up those retail numbers. The auto industry. These upcoming months are crucial in sales for the auto business. Grand Strand dealerships say they are revving up for a rise in sales. Some sales managers say they are predicting a 20 to 30 percent increase in sales from last year. Overall businesses are expecting about a 20 percent increase for the year, and sales right now are on track. Dealerships are able to tell how well sales will be based on what manufacturers are doing, the amount of interest from consumers, and the traffic that comes through the lots every day.

"I feel like certainly in the automotive sector it's going good," said General Manager Robert Wingate. "You know we had that slow down a couple of years back. A lot of people kind of held their breath and didn't do anything, and now it's come up to where some people really need to get a new car."

Auto sales from this month are expected to be 11 percent higher than last October.

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