Local retailers said this year’s Christmas sales appear to be up from last year, and they give most of the credit to the support of the local community.
And this flies in the face of national trends, according to numbers released by retail watchdog ShopperTrak.
According to ShopperTrak, this year’s Christmas sales declined by 2.5 percent, and foot traffic declined by 3.3 percent compared to the 2011 Christmas season.
But locally, there was more positive news.
Mayberry Toy Company owner Paul Stroup said he was pleased with sales during the Christmas season, noting that this first year in operation has surpassed expectations.
“From the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, we saw a steady flow of customers, and sales were a little better than expected,” he said. “Being a new store in Mount Airy, we really didn’t know exactly what customers would want, but we seemed to put the right things on the shelves and will try to improve on those items next year.”
Stroup said he felt positive about his first year in business.
“I was really pleased and got really good feedback from our customers,” he said.
And a lot of his sales came from the local community.
“We had a lot of local people coming in multiple times and making purchases,” he said. “And all I can say is that I’m extremely grateful for that. I think this is the start of something good. I knew going into business that winter would be a little slow, but right now we’re getting ready for the tour buses to unload this spring.”
Larger retailers also reported a positive trend.
“Actually, sales were pretty good, although we’re not allowed to give out exact figures,” said K-Mart store manager Sandra Deaton. “It was up from last year, and we’re beginning to see a lot of online traffic, certainly much more than in the past, so the online sales has become big business for us.”
Sales were up across the board, Deaton said, although electronic purchases seemed to drive the increased sales.
“People were just buying everything,” she said. “For kids, the biggest things were iPads, and electronic items seemed to sell well this year and were more popular than toys.”
Overall, Deaton said she was pleased with sales this Christmas season.
“They were good enough to give us hope for a brighter future,” she said. “So I’m pretty pleased overall, especially with the economy the way it has been.”
Debbie and Darrel Miles, owners of Mayberry on Main, also reported burgeoning sales.
“We had a pretty good Christmas season this year, with a lot of local sales and a lot of very nice visitors,” said Debbie Miles.
She noted that sales were up slightly from last year’s Christmas season.
“It was even better than expected,” she said. “It’s certainly what we’d hoped for.”
Darrel Miles agreed.
“We’ve had a pretty good spring, summer and fall, and a pretty good holiday season,” he said.
Like other local retailers, Darrel Miles credits the support of the local community.
“More locals are beginning to come downtown and support us,” he said. “And we had more during the holiday season than during other times of the year.
“Most of our business is tourism, but the locals have been really good about supporting us,” he added. “We’re hoping things will get even better next year, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
Like the Miles’, Wendy Rudd, manager of Main Oak Emporium, said local traffic combined with out-of-town customers pulled them through the holiday season.
“I’d say we had better sales this year than last,” she said. “People were buying a lot of clothes and shoes this year.”
Rudd credits the merchandise selection with the positive holiday sales.
“People were spending less on touristy stuff and more on practical items like clothes,” she said. “While I haven’t totaled the numbers yet, I certainly feel like they were up from last year.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.