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Merchants Dream of a Colder Christmas

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CARY — Merchants thought with a strong economy this would be one of the best holiday seasons ever, but some retailers could have a blue Christmas.

It seems many shoppers just could not get into the Christmas spirit when it felt more like spring than winter outside. Now merchants are hoping to make up for lost time.

"It just doesn't feel festive when it's not a little crisp outside," says Susan Burney, manager of Galatea.

For local merchants, sales are brisk when the temperature is too. Many say the holiday shopping season got off to a late start because of the warm weather.

"People were not in the mood," Burney said. "People have come in and said 'I wish it would get colder, and then I would feel like Christmas shopping.' But since [then] it's gotten a little cooler, and it's definitely picked up."

Merchants at Cary Towne Center say sales picked up over the weekend. Business is booming at one bookstore as holiday shoppers search for last-minute gifts. The rush began Saturday, and the crowds haven't let up since.

"Today has been a continuation of the weekend, it hasn't been any more or less busy today than it was Saturday or yesterday," says Katie Paul, manager of the Ink Newstand.

At a Hallmark store, customers lined up to buy cards, gift wrap and stocking stuffers. A new shipment of beanie babies flew off the store shelves.

"Most of them went probably within 45 minutes," says Helen Clement, a worker at Lynn's Hallmark. "Those were the most popular. We still have about five and that's it."

Shoppers can also find some bargains over the next few days. The slow start motivated some stores to cut prices in hopes of moving merchandise.

"I've seen some of the major brand stores that are 25 percent off, says shopper Kent Dickens. "It's been good to have those sales and to wait a little while, but don't get caught in the rush."

There are only three shopping days left until Christmas, and the merchandise is going fast.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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