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Holiday sales up this year

Posted December 28, 2009

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— In a bounce back from last year's disappointing holiday shopping season, this year sales are up nationally, according to data released Monday.

It's a trend Raleigh businesses are also noticing. Business was so good this year at Accipiter Galleries, at 2046 Clark Ave. in Raleigh, the owner had a difficult time keeping the store stocked.

"This is where the profit is made,” Sandy Friedman, owner of Accipiter Galleries, said of the holiday shopping season.

Friedman said his Cameron Village store hasn't done this well in nearly a decade.

"If I wasn't thinking about what the rest of the economy was doing, then I'd say we met our expectations. Knowing what's going on out there, we exceeded them,” he said.

It was also a booming holiday season for Uniquities, at 450 Daniels St. in Raleigh.

"It's an achievement,” Jaime Goodson, owner of Uniquities, said of his holiday sales.

Goodson even has a theory on why retailers helped push holiday sales above last years numbers.

"I think people are tired of being in fear. At some point, you have to put it aside and still work with what you do have,” she explained.

The merry holiday sales seen locally are no fluke. According to figures from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which track all forms of payment, including cash, retail sales rose 3.6 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, compared with a 2.3 percent drop in the year-ago period.

Adjusting for an extra shopping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the number was closer to a 1 percent gain.

Last year, the economy was in "critical condition," said Michael McNamara, vice president at MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse. "This year, it's in stable condition."

A better picture of how retailers fared during the holiday will be known Jan. 7, when many report December sales.

Goodson said she can only hope the next decade will begin as strong as this one is ending.

"The economy is still kind of on crutches at this point. We're moving forward in a slow method. But I think you still have to protect yourselves and be cautious, and make the right business decisions to be able to stay afloat,” she said.

According to the MasterCard survey, the most popular sales items nationally include Amazon's Kindle e-book reader, Apple's iPod Touch and Garmin’s Nuvi 260W GPS device.


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