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New York is a total bust for Labor Day weekend retail sales as consumers look for other unofficial end-of-summer activities.
If last year’s massive drop in sales repeats itself this year — as some analysts are forecasting — retailers statewide can expect as much as a 19 percent plunge in revenue this weekend through Monday in average daily sales — in contrast to a mere 4 percent dip nationally, according to a study of 2017 retail holiday transactions by Womply.
The sales decline on Labor Day itself in New York City was almost twice the 2017 national average, accounting for a 44 percent drop, compared with 23 percent nationwide, the data show.
Empty stores and lighter foot traffic this weekend are bad signs, as traffic headed for the Jersey shore and other area beaches choked bridges and tunnels.
“A lot more people are headed out of the city for the Poconos and the Hamptons,” said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for the AAA in New York. “Last year we saw that pick up heavily, with 100,000 more people taking bridges and tunnels last Labor Day weekend compared with the previous.”
With the numbers expected to soar further this year, New York retailers are hitting bad economic times, despite store discounts and other come-ons. New York City retailers notched a modest 3 percent increase in sales on the Friday before Labor Day last year, compared with a much higher 34 percent nationwide, according to Womply, a software company for small business.
“To be honest, not many people stay in New York City on Labor Day, and the store promotions do not matter,” local business owner Nadine Cino told The Post. “We are not landlocked like St. Louis or other big cities, so I think geography plays a big part in this seasonality,” added Cino, chief executive of Bryant Park-based TygaBox, a supplier of reusable boxes for moving, as she herself mulled heading out of town to join friends at an area beach cabana.
But some analysts think the city’s higher costs for basic goods and services is a big contributing factor to New York’s Labor Day weekend woes, noting how many residents stock up on cheaper goods and services outside city and state lines.
For instance, a basket of groceries in New York City costs between 28 percent and 39 percent more than the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research — meaning if you spend $200 per month somewhere else in the US, you’ll pay closer to $260 in New York City.