Shopping season continues

Stores report hits and misses during day after Christmas

Christmas may have come and gone, but the holiday shopping blitz still has some legs left.

According to the National Retail Federation, one of the world's largest retail trade associations, American consumers will spend an estimated $457 billion during the holiday shopping season, Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. That's a 5 percent increase from last year's shopping season, according to the Washington, D.C.-based agency.

A good percentage of that $457 billion will come post-Christmas Day, said Scott Krugman, NRF vice president of industry relations.

"The week after Christmas can account for anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of retailers' holiday sales," Krugman said. "Gift cards, clearance sales ... retailers are going to pull out all the stops to get shoppers inside."

For some local retailers, the biggest shopping bonanza occurred in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Stores like Radio Shack-Jackson's Office Supply, 106 W. Victory Way, with its assortment of electronic gifts, saw a surge in customer traffic.

But that surge died down the day after Christmas. Store manager Jamie Eckroth said around 100 customers came in Tuesday.

"That's pretty normal for us," she said. "It's been just a good steady flow."

Karen Brown, president of the Downtown Business Association and manager of the Community Budget Center, 555 Yampa Ave., said business picked up in the days leading up to the holiday but dropped off sharply on Tuesday.

"We had a really good week last week," Brown said. "Today, we've been slow. That's pretty typical for us. Donations are normally up after the holiday, but sales are down."

Larger stores in Craig had more success.

Though store employees at K-mart wouldn't comment on customer numbers or sales volume Tuesday, the store's parking lot was full early Tuesday morning with shoppers seeking to capitalize on a sale advertising some items at 50 to 60 percent off.

Andy Keith, a store manager at Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply, said about 300 customers had come into his store by mid-day Tuesday. The store was expecting to have between 600 to 650 customers by the end of the day.

"It's been really good, a lot higher than expected," Keith said. He added that a majority of customers were buying items on sale or through holiday gift cards.

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