Holiday shopping worth celebrating

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Al Key/DRC
Sleeping Lizzards co-owner Beth Klein said holiday traffic to her Elm Street store picked up as the weather got colder. “Shopping is a mindset,” she said.

Local retailers cheer over seasonal boost

Who would have thought colorful LED finger lights at $2.75 would be so popular during the holidays?

“We always have one thing that flies off the floor, and last year it was color fingers laser LED lights,” said Beth Klein, co-owner of Sleeping Lizzards, a gift shop located off the Square on Elm Street.

Klein said she and her business partner, Roxane Clark, had a great holiday sales season, which she attributed in part to the weather.

“More people started coming in when the weather got colder,” Klein said.

She said customers felt reluctant to shop during the early weeks of December, when the weather reached 80 degrees.

“Shopping is a mindset,” she said.

Small-business retailers like Sleeping Lizzards picked up a lot of momentum during the holidays, according to a SpendingPlus report released by MasterCard Advisors in partnership with Wells Fargo. Small retailers saw a 5.2 percent improvement in sales over 2011, according to the Dec. 12 report.

“Most people shopped later, close to the actual Christmas Day,” Klein said.

Last-minute Christmas shopping, post-Christmas bargain hunting and gift card redemption caused weekly retail sales for the week ending Dec. 29 to increase by 0.6 percent, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. Compared to 2011, year-over-year retail sales remained at 2.7 percent, according to the council’s report.

The Texas Retail Outlook Survey, provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, noted retail inventories rose during the month of December, but the sales index remained at 7.6 percent, similar to the prior month.

Yet, respondents to the survey said they were more optimistic about the broader economy, according to the Fed.

Lisa McCarty, owner of Bella Designs, a home decor store on Oak Street, said she felt people were just in the mood to shop.

“I think people were just tired of not shopping for so long,” she said.

McCarty said her business was open for only two months during the 2011 holiday season, so it was hard to predict what her 2012 sales would look like. Now she has a better idea how to prepare for the holidays.

“We had a great holiday season,” said McCarty, who relied on social media and word of mouth. “We did not have any special sales or anything else to motivate shoppers to come in.”

McCarty said customers could not get enough of Canadian artist Sid Dickens’ Memory Blocks, which are decorative tiles. Customers also bought a lot more Christmas decorations.

Holiday retail items, including apparel, electronics, jewelry and furnishings, accounted for 30 percent to 35 percent of the retail purchases made during the holiday shopping period, according to the SpendingPulse report, which measured retail sales from Oct. 28 through Dec. 22.

Lora Amyx-Gorman, co-owner of Amyx Fine Jewelry, said her customers shopped every day during the holiday season and bought jewelry at all prices.

“We also had a lot of people that bought earlier in the season instead of waiting,” she said in an e-mail.

Tim Loyd, owner of Atomic Candy, another young business in Denton, said his sales went well.

“It was our first full Christmas — we did twice what we normally do [in sales],” he said.

Atomic Candy carries around 2,000 items, including novelty items, gifts and many brands of soda. Loyd said he wasn’t sure what to expect and was caught off guard.

“I ran out of things way too early,” he said.

KARINA RAMIREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is

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