Retailers say 2012 holiday shopping season has improved

Published 8:19 pm Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last minute shoppers flock to local boutiques and stores the Saturday before Christmas. Debbie Veach went to Carter’s Books and Gifts to find a special something for her daughter on Saturday. --Ashley Johnson

Retailers during the holiday season try to squeeze as many sales as they can until the last drop — the last day before Christmas Eve. Many retailers see the majority of the annual sales during the last two months of the year. As the final days of the Christmas season creep up, some Selma retailers are saying 2012 has been a pretty good year.

“Last year was the worst year for us in 23 years,” Frames ‘n Things owner Kay Traylor said about 2011. “But I have to say this year is an improvement from years past.”

Frames ‘n Things sells gift shop type items and memorabilia, but she said if she did not have her framing workshop, she doesn’t know what business would be like because that part brings so much success.

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The National Retail Federation reports that consumers are spending an average of $749.51 this holiday season for gifts, décor and greeting cards.

Anne Murray, with Carter’s Books and Gifts, said the store is entering into a joyous phase of the retail cycle — last minute Christmas shopping sales.

“Right now is a very fun phase of the holiday season for us because people are loving to shop right now. They are hurrying, they are willing to take suggestions and we can usually help everyone that comes in,” Murray said. “We are starting to see families coming in from out of town and so we have a lot of Selma items that people love to come in and see.”

Murray also said sales are better than in years past and they are taking advantage of putting items on sale as much as possible. She explained the weekend before Christmas is always a mad rush of people before there is a lull of shoppers in January.

Like many local retailers, Carter’s Books and Gifts sees a large percentage of their retail business in the last two months of the year.

“Well it’s really not a matter of relying on [the holiday season sales] as much as you have to be ready for them,” Murray said. “You have to be stocked and ready and just ride it out.”