Some local businesses struggle to compete with growing online sales

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Online shopping gained even more ground with consumers this holiday season, with more than one billion items being purchased on Amazon between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

At the same time, according to a retail think tank, about 7,000 businesses closed in 2017, which is triple the normal amount.

Some local businesses are now feeling the pressure.

"Before we even open our doors, we're at a 10 percent disadvantage," Mid City Business Association President Tim Levy said.

Even as online retail giants like Amazon collect sales in Louisiana, Levy believes people still shop online to avoid paying it.

"So we're asking that there are more of a discussion about how do you handle this disparity," Levy said.

Levy said businesses aren't the only ones that will be affected.

"Real estate developers are very concerned about this because if brick and mortar businesses can't survive with online sales taking bigger chunks, they don't have any tenants for their investments," Levy said.

One Mid City retailer said he got ahead of the game, starting off online before opening up shop.

"People will shop online, but they also want to come in and have that human experience," NOLA Til Ya Die Manager Jay Hendrix said.

He said they've been getting more business at their store than online, especially this holiday season.

However, some businesses on Magazine Street said they are struggling to compete with online sales.

"We have noticed a lot of people come in here, they have their cellphones in hand, and they Google the item to see if they can get a better price. So that's really hurt us," Shops at 2011 Co-Owner Randy Richardson said.

Even with challenges from the online market, Richardson said the 2017 holiday season has been strong.

"It's been one of the best, and we're very thankful for that," he said.