Though the economy continues to lag, Fourth of July was expected to generate holiday spending for retailers, especially from consumers investing in home "staycations."
Holiday revelers were expected to make some investments in their Independence Day celebrations even though consumer confidence has been "wobbling" in the past year, according Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation associate economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez said.
Retailers and economic analysts expected more people to stay in town and spend money on "small indulgences," Ritter-Martinez said.
Cheaper gas prices may have helped put consumers in a good mood to spend, according to research from the National Retail Federation.
Research conducted by BIGinsight for the federation's Independence Day survey stated 67.6 percent of Americans planned to partake in picnics, barbecues, or cookouts. That's the the highest portion of U.S. residents to participate in Fourth of July outdoor activities since the survey began in 2003.
Consumers have an improved outlook this season, and that was expected to benefit retailers, said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at BIGinsight, in a statement.
"Whether the time consumers get off work for this holiday is used to travel to their favorite summer watering hole or used to catch up on yard work, it’s clear that Americans are in better spirits this Fourth of July," Goodfellow said. "Grocery stores, department, discount and drug stores will benefit from the added holiday traffic as consumers stock up on food, sunscreen, beach gear and apparel for their celebrations."
Locally, organizers of one of the Los Angeles area's biggest fireworks events predicted a big turnout because of economic conditions -- specifically lower gas prices.
Charles Thompson, corporate communications manager for the Rose Bowl, said the drop in gas prices "may have an impact -- in a positive way -- for us."
A smaller holiday event, in Pacific Palisades, has seen growth in the past couple of years. The Palisades Parade introduced a half-dozen food vendors due to the demand for more dining options from hometown revelers.
More attendees have been spending more money on food at the event, according to Rob Weber, secretary of Palisades Americanism Parade Association, an all-volunteer organization that sponsors the parade.
The event has grown from a one-hour celebration to a three-hour dinnertime festival, he added
Meanwhile, Felipe Murillo, an outdoor kitchen specialist for Barbeques Galore in West Los Angeles, said he's noticed more customers investing in his wares.
The store has seen a lot of purchases of charcoal, gas, propane, and "a lot of accessories in general," Murillo said.
"The last two years have been a big drastic change in comparison to '09 or 2010 or so," Murillo said.