Banner Year or Bust for Sales?

The Christmas crunch is on. Last minute shoppers bustle through Valley Mall in Harrisonburg, but some have a little less jingle in their pockets this holiday.

"I've set a dollar amount this year and it is less than last year," says shopper Tom Miller.

Melody Burch, Owner of Mel's Novelties, says, "Sales have been down. There have been people in here, but they're not spending money like normal. I guess the economy."

Mall traffic is down and that's reflected in sales. At Friedman's Jewelers, the store is under quota $2,000-$3,000 dollars each day. Yet, more customers than usual are opening new accounts there.

Amber Thompson, Assistant Manager, says, "It hasn't been as busy as I thought it would be. A lot of people are just living on credit because the economy is down."

The national economy has taken its toll on Valley shoppers. But one mother shopping for her children says that doesn't matter.

"The economy does not change the needs and the wants of children," says Joyce Sanchez. She says she's spending hundreds more this Christmas than last. Others have kept an even budget.

"I think I'm spending about the same as before," says shopper Sue Lemish.

Radio Shack has had a banner year.

"We've seen traffic remain pretty much consistent with last year. However, this year sales are up," says Store Manager Hank Graham.

Traffic may be consistent, but Burch says shoppers aren't buying like normal.

"You can see a difference in the crowd. People are holding on to their money because they don't know what's going on," she says.

Shoppers themselves have noticed fewer Christmas crowds.

Shopper Jim Hodge says, "The mall is busy, but not packed, which is fine by me."

Many stores make 25 percent of their yearly profit in the last two months of the year, so Christmas is a very important time for retailers.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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