Local Retailers Feel Holiday Cheer
After an icy 2009, local stores see boost in sales and spirits.
By all indications, it was a very merry Christmas for Fredericksburg area retailers.
Just one year ago, the Fredericksburg region was pummeled by a massive mid-December snowstorm that brought life, and Christmas shopping, to a screeching halt.
This year, however, there was little snow to stand in the way of eager shoppers, and Fredericksburg retailers took note of a general boost in sales and consumer spirits.
"Our sales were definitely up from last year," said Amy Woodruff, retail wine manager at Kybecca Wine Bar and Shop in Downtown Fredericksburg.
"There were more people out shopping, and that was evident by the amount of wine we ordered versus the amount of wine we sold. I tend to stock the shop rather well around the holidays, and we ran out of a number of bottles."
In 2009, many holiday shoppers were forced to wait until Christmas week to shop, thanks to iced roads that kept a lot of shop employees at home. This year, retailers observed a much steadier flow of foot traffic and sales over the span of November and December.
"The foot traffic was constant," said Mike Desler, manager of Irish Eyes gift shop on Caroline Street. "It was one thing after another in terms of weather last year."
"There was nothing in their way this year," said Desler. "Our sales were certainly strong."
Desler noted that sales at Irish Eyes were up nearly 20 percent over the previous year, thanks to fair prices and a unique offering of seasonal and non-seasonal products.
Retailers at national stores in Central Park, Garrisonville and Massaponax noted an uptick in sales as well.
"We were definitely busier than last year," said Kristel Barber, assistant manager of Old Navy in Central Park. "Overall our holiday season was a huge success… we even ran out of stock of some of our more popular items."
Larger retailers and mom-and-pop shops alike are trying to feed off Christmas successes with post-holiday clearance sales.
Old Navy in Central Park is currently offering a number of items on sale, as Irish Eyes hosts its own 40 percent off sale.
"Our post-Christmas [sales] have been a bit weaker than last year," said Desler. "This because people weren't snowed in at their house and were able to get out and shop. It has definitely slowed down."
In addition to an increase in sales, many retailers agreed that consumers simply seemed to be a bit more in the holiday spirit this year.
"People were just more comfortable and a little more relaxed this year," said Woodruff. "Last year, people were down and seemed anxious. This year, the mood was much more festive."