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Queens: Struggling Retail A Sign Of The Times

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Retailers along the main shopping strip in Forest Hills are taking on a wave of revenue loss as shopping habits continue to reflect the impact of the recession. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

In Forest Hills, some of the people who still have the means to shop are doing a lot of their spending on Austin Street.

"I don't want to give up the things I like to do," said one shopper.

In chain stores like Foxy's, a discount designer store, it's hard to tell we're still in a recession.

"To be honest with you, we haven't been hurt at all. We have had steady traffic since November," said Foxy's manager Connie Amoyen.

But even though a lot of money is changing hands on the strip, some of the mom and pop stores are not seeing much of it these days. Many of the shoppers we spoke with simply prefer chain stores.

"I feel like the prices are more expensive," said one shopper.

Sumon Kadir says that's a myth, and he's worried that kind of thinking could kill the clothing business he opened two years ago after moving to New York from Bangladesh. Revenues at the store have been declining since last November.

"It's almost 40 percent less. It's very hard to survive right now," said Kadir.


The tight credit market is making it even more difficult to stay afloat. Earlier this year when the bank cut off his line of credit, Kadir had a hard time meeting his overhead. As a result, he had to cut his staff from five to two.

Some of the other small stores have also made adjustments to try to keep their registers moving.

It's a mixed bag as to how they are doing overall as some are doing better than others.

Sherif Reyadh manages a suit store. He says revenues have picked up again after a slight drop in business. Reyadh says the key is understanding today's shopper.

"Two years ago, the customers would buy whatever you carry, but right now you have to be selective and make sure that it's the right piece and good quality and also you have to lower the prices a lot," said Reyadh.

Some diehard mom and pop shoppers say adjustment is key.

Kadir has also dropped his prices which is something he says shoppers are slowly beginning to notice.

"I believe everything will go well and soon," said Kadir.

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