Retailers nationwide showed modest gains this Christmas shopping season, but some local businesses say they saw booms in business.


Retailers nationwide showed modest gains this Christmas shopping season, but some local businesses say they saw booms in business.
Although the Christmas shopping season officially goes through Saturday, experts were expecting a national increase in Christmas sales of 3.7 percent compared with last year.
Stores were expected to ring up $469.1 billion in sales — better than initial projections during a period of slow economic growth.
In McPherson however, some retailers The Sentinel talked with saw double-digit increases.
“We had a very good Christmas and exceeded last year,” said Toni Bandy, owner of The Stone Chimney in McPherson. “We were up 25 percent.”
Unlike many big box stores that enticed shoppers in with deep discounts, The Stone Chimney has maintained more consistent pricing. It ran discounts the week before Christmas and is now offering 50 percent off Christmas items.
Ron Burgett, owner of Burgett Furniture, said he also tries to keep prices steady even during the holiday season.
“Traditionally we sell at the least price we can and still make a profit,” Burgett said. “I don’t use those bait-and-switch tactics. I mainly sell American and try to provide the most quality furniture.”
With an increase of about 18 percent compared to last year, Burgett said he was pleasantly surprised by sales this Christmas season.
“We kept a lot of inventory. A lot of stores didn’t do that because they didn’t expect the holiday sales to be that good,” he said. “I guess sometimes you do something right.”
Across town at The Furniture Store, Randy Hoffman is hoping to wrap up the year with a bang after strong holiday sales with end-of-the-year inventory clearance.
“We tend to measure from our highest years. If you go back to 2007 and 2008, those were really banner years,” Hoffman said. “This has not been our best year, but it seems to us we have reached the bottom of the slide and things have been going up.
“It seems things are picking up. We can notice some excitement in people buying. It seems to us to be going the right way.”
Smaller, tagged items also went well this holiday season in McPherson. Richard Ragan, owner of Brown’s Shoe Fit, said all lines at his store sold well this season. However, wool socks seemed to especially be a hit.
“For us, it went awesome. We were way up,” he said.
The Well, coffee shop and Christian book store, sponsored an evening with Santa and special music during the holiday season to draw in customers.
Jenny Goering, manager, said she was pleased with the Christmas sales, which were up from last year.
She said The Well had many day-after Christmas shoppers, as the store offered half-off Christmas merchandise.