Economy takes toll on Christmas tree sales

November 27, 2009 7:27:47 PM PST
This is an anxious time for those who sell real Christmas trees in the Bay Area. They saw a 10 percent drop in sales last year, so they are hoping lower prices will help sales bounce back.

So far, the bad economy seems to be taking a big bite out of Christmas tree sales at one family-owned lot in Concord.

"Last Thanksgiving at this time, it was a $5,000 day; five years ago, Thanksgiving, you're looking at a $15,000-$20,000 day, we're lucky we got a quarter of that yesterday," lot owner George Colello Jr. said.

Sales are slow despite the fact the Colellos marked down their inventory from Washington State considerably compared with last year.

"This is a nine-footer, nine-footer last year went for $125, this year it's going for $89.99, these are seven footers and they're going for $79," Colello said.

Eva Bayliss and her little brother Jordan have a budget for this year's tree.

"We've got $100 and we need a Christmas tree that's $100," Eva Bayliss said.

The same tree last year would have sold for 20 or 30 dollars more, but the small lots have had to slash their prices to compete with the big national chain stores like Home Depot, which offer cut trees at cut-rate prices.

"We're economically impacted like everyone else and I was reading all the ads yesterday and said, 'Ah, we're going back to Home Depot;' they're actually about five dollars cheaper than last year," tree shopper Sue Best said.

Others say, despite the down economy, they will not let price get in the way of just the right choice.

"We don't really look at price because they're very expensive anyway," tree shopper Anabel Novelo said.


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