Other trends Spezzano has noticed are the expansion of farmers markets from one a week on a seasonal basis to three or four each week year-round. He said locally grown programs continue to be popular, with Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons jumping on the buy-local bandwagon.
The retail trends now in evidence in Southern California eventually could show up in other regions, Vogel predicted.
“It appears that a lot of the people from across the United States are looking at the Southern California marketplace with tremendous interest,” he said. “It’s changing the way retailing is being done.”
Overall, retail business “seems like it’s getting a little bit better,” Puentes said.
But the economy remains fragile.
“There are reasons to be mildly optimistic,” he said, “but I think people are still very concerned.”