Holiday retail sales predicted to top $451 billion

December 24, 2010 7:34:56 PM PST
This is shaping-up to be one of the best years ever for retailers. All around the Bay Area, malls are packed with people. The National Retail Federation predicts sales will top $451billion -- up 3.3 percent from last year.

That fact is really hard to believe given the recession and the high unemployment rate, but if things stay on pace here at Sunvalley and across the country, holiday sales this season could top the record total dollar amount set in 2007.

Things are looking up for retailers this holiday season, and the rush of last-minute shoppers could turn good sales figures into great ones. At Concord's Sunvalley Mall, the hot sellers include high-priced jewelry, which is a big change from last year.

"This has been a very, very strong season here at Sunvalley. Some of the strongest numbers we've seen in years. In fact, it may end up being one of the strongest seasons we've ever had. It's been really great," says Michael Fenley, from Sunvalley Mall.

At Brookstone, last-minute shoppers were clearly going for items that wouldn't exactly be considered essentials.

"The helicopters up front there...they're huge. We've been selling pretty well our drone hovercraft thing right there," says Laurie Saraiva from Brookstone.

Much of the last-minute rush is driven by men, who make up 60 percent of the Christmas Eve crowd here at Sunvalley, about twice the normal number.

When asked why he comes out on the last day before Christmas, shopper Arnie Darwin says, "It just seems like there's more of a spirit on the last day. People are starting to get into it."

Then there are those who are into getting some bargains.

When asked what he was finding, shopper Ed Gaede says, "Lots of deals. Yeah, I found some nice sweaters for a person, a friend."

"I think we have spent less this year," says shopper Jennifer Oliver. "Definitely because of the economy, but we have three kids in kids in college. We're helping them through."

Shopping wasn't the only last-minute task at Sunvalley. It was also the final day to get one's picture taken with a certain someone.

Jordanna Glenn was finally getting around to taking the kids to see Santa and says, "Yea, work a lot. My husband works a lot. So, shopping got done, but not Santa."

The Santa visiting area at Sunvalley is also a big business. ABC7 was told sales of those photo packages are also up considerably this year.

The Sunvalley Mall closed at 6 p.m.


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