Christmas sales get mixed reviews

Christmas sales nationwide are up an average 5 percent this year showing that people and the economy are doing well financially. As far as Craig is concerned, the holiday season has generated mixed reviews.

Jim Simos, owner of Cashway Distributors, a sporting goods store, said the number of late shoppers picking up sporting goods has increased.

"Right now, sales are about average," said Simos. "I'm not complaining. In fact, I appreciate all of my customers."

Theresa Schone, replacement team manager at Kmart in Craig, says sales were up three percent last week from the previous year and up approximately 10 percent this week from a year ago. Schone said there is one specific type of candy that is really selling fast this year.

"The Tobler Chocolate Orange, that's one of the big things people have been asking for," said Schoen. "Anything Pokn has been hard to keep on the shelves also. At this point though, anything sells."

Several stores located in downtown Craig also reported strong sales. Dona Fleetwood, owner of Trinkets, Trash and Treasures, a boutique, and Le Chic, a bath and body supplies store, said holiday sales have exceeded her expectations.

"It seems like people are shopping in Craig this year, which is great," said Fleetwood. "I think that the spree bucks are helping a lot."

Spree bucks are a currency that can only be used at stores in Craig.

The hot items in Fleetwood's stores are Boyed's Bear figurines and Yesterday's Child porcelain dolls. She has almost sold out of all of the products in the bath and boutique shop.

Jackie Roberts, sales clerk at Sweetwater Trading Co., another downtown boutique, has seen a lot of merchandise move across her counter.

"Sales have been really good," said Roberts. "Right now, there are a lot of last-minute shoppers."

Sticking with the animal theme, any carved moose or bear figurine is quick to sell.

"Moose and bears are part of the northern cabin trend that is big in decorating right now," said Roberts. "They are really selling well."

One store that has seen a drop in sales from last year is Country General.

Bill Johnston, manager, believes Mother Nature has played a role in decreasing sales.

"Right now, sales are down 3.9 percent from last year or $18,000 from last December," said Johnston. "I think a lot of it is due to the weather. It has been decent, so people are traveling to Steamboat and Grand Junction to do their shopping."

Johnston said that the store is averaging 306 visitors per day this week. Some of the favorite gifts that they are picking up for relatives are Ertl farm toys, power equipment and firearms.

The procrastinators are making a strong last-minute showing and most of them are males fitting the stereotype, according to Johnston.

"We have four registers going today," said Johnston. "Keeping with tradition, most of my customers in the last week are male."

Stage Department Store, located in Centennial Mall, is reporting a weaker Christmas sales season than last year.

Manager Terri Hess said that people are buying less.

"It has been busy, but actually we are down from last year," said Hess. "However, we are not down dramatically."

According to Hess, perfumes and jewelry top the list of items that are selling.

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