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Shop owners report business as usual
By Shawn Skager
With the holiday season a blip in the rear view mirror, several local retail businesses are weighing the impact the season had on sales.
Although most Enumclaw stores contacted said Christmas sales were good, they admitted there was no significant change - for better or worse - from last year.
For the Enumclaw Sears store, manager Tom George said sales were up for the year, but down a little compared to December of last year.
“We had a good year, we weren't down,” George said. “Sales were in the plus. It's not real significant, it's in the single digits.”
George said Christmas sales were not the big lift other stores may have seen.
“Month to date, we're flat,” George said. “Christmas really didn't help us, we're flat on the month to date, we're down about 4 percent compared to December of last year.”
According to George, the store sells mainly big-box items, like hardware, appliances and electronics.
“Electronics were way low this year,” George said. “It might have to do with the selection, and that everybody got everything they needed last year. How many DVD players can you own?”
The store did do well in some areas and on the season's hot items.
“We did pretty good on the large screen TVs and did well on appliances for December, and they made up for the shortfalls,” he said.
Robin Buckingham, owner of Lindon Books, said Christmas sales did not increase greatly over last season.
“For the year, we're probably on par with last year,” she said.
Buckingham added unlike this past Christmas, there has not been any real big must-haves.
“This time last year it was “Alone in the Wilderness” and Jon Stewart's “America,” she said. “And the “Polar Express” movie came out. This year there was not anything that was the must-have book.”
The bulk of sales this season were in the areas of kids and fiction, Buckingham said.
“But we saw an increase in nonfiction also,” she added.
Buckingham also said she has seen positive impact from gift certificates this season.
“It's actually been very good this year,” she said.
For Peggy Wenham, owner of Almost Necessities, the holiday season is a big part of her yearly sales.
“It's probably about 30 percent of our business,” she said.
This season's hot items, according to Wenham, were ornaments by artist Jim Shore.
“We always do really well with Jim Shore items,” she said.
Wenham said the decorations of snowmen, Santas and angels are usually reasonably priced, depending on the size of the item.
“They start at $20 and average around 30 or 35 bucks,” she said. “Some of the big ones can be expensive.”
Compared to last season, Wenham said there was not a significant change in sales.
“It's about the same as last year,” she said.
The same holds true for her store's yearly sales, she added.
“I think it's about the same, I haven't compared it completely yet, but we're pretty even.”
Shawn Skager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.