Father's Day not as lucrative as other holidays

The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.June 15, 2013 

Samantha Hall puts just as much effort into finding the perfect gift for her dad on Father's Day as she does when shopping for other holidays.

"My family, we always try to do about the same amount," said Hall, who was browsing the men's golf apparel section at Stein Mart on Wednesday. "We try to be fair."

Mother's Day, however, tends to generate more spending from shoppers at the Washington Road store than does Father's Day, said Karen Johnson, an assistant manager at the store.

According to an annual National Retail Federation survey, consumers are expected to spend an average of $119, which is up by about $2 from last year, on fathers this year. Total Father's Day spending was projected to reach about $13.3 billion.

Shoppers spent an average of about $169 on mothers and total spending was estimated at $20.7 billion for Mother's Day.

Excluding Christmas, the next holiday to bring in the most retail dollars was Easter, with Valentine's Day trailing not far behind, according to the NRF.

"I think there's just a general theme that the economy is somewhat better than this time last year," said Simon Medcalfe, a finance professor at Georgia Regents University's Hull College of Business.

"Retail sales in general are trending upwards. I would expect that holiday spending would be trending upwards slightly as well."

Hall had already finished most of her Father's Day shopping but was looking, along with her mother, Rita Turner, to add the finishing touches for her dad's present, and also to find something for her grandfather.

Hall said her father, a golfer, is easily satisfied.

"Moms are harder to please, so that's why their gifts are more expensive," joked Hall, whispering so her mother wouldn't hear. "I can buy him a cool pair of plaid golf shorts and he's like, Woo-hoo!"

Johnson said bright, bold colors have dominated consumers' carts this year as they've shopped for their fathers. Casual clothing, not the traditional tie, has been the big seller.

"Men only get clothes twice a year," Johnson said. "That is Father's Day and Christmas. The women are in here buying for them because they know that."

High-end electronics and new gadgets were the top items being purchased by Father's Day shoppers at one Target, said Paul Lynch, who works in the store's asset protection department.

"It's not as busy as the other holidays," said Lynch, noting that Easter followed Christmas as the busiest holiday season. "Traditionally, men don't shop as much as women, so it's a good day for us."

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