Christmas sales down locally, nationally

Posted at 4:15 PM, Dec 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-24 19:01:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The amount of people visiting stores in person this holiday season is down 20 percent from the same time last year, according to the world’s largest analyzer of retail shopper traffic, Shoppertrak.

Shoppertrak found between December 16 and December 22 retail sales were down 3.1 percent from last year and retail brick and mortar traffic decreased by 21.2 from last year.

The local holiday retail picture mirrors national trends, according to the Retail Merchants Association in Richmond.

Shopper Kelly Brooks said she’s definitely noticed fewer people shopping and that has helped her enjoy her shopping experience.

“I wasn't trampled like I have been in previous years,” Brooks said.

Brooks said she found great deals in Chesterfield and avoided long lines at both the mall and mom and pop shops.

“At Macy's, for example, 70 percent off specific items of clothing,” Brooks said.

To bring people in, retailers, including small local stores, are slashing prices.

“We have put a lot of sales on things to bring more people in,” Julia Moore with Sycamore Pewter and Gifts in Midlothian said.

Moore said items that rarely go on sale before Christmas are being discounted.

“We rarely put sales on those dolls, we also noticed people weren't being drawn to them like in past years, so we decided to put a sale on them,” she said.

Small business owners across the area said holiday shopping started off slow.

“Bad weather the first week in December, it was very quiet, we were a little worried,” Sharon Moody, Fraiche Co-Owner, said.

But, these past few days improved their bottom line

“After that the sun came out and business was booming,” Moody said.

And, they’re now confident this holiday season will prove a success.

"We're having a great season,” Moody said.

Shoppertrack predicted after-holiday sales will help sales increase in the days after Christmas.