Crowds small for after-Xmas sales |

Crowds small for after-Xmas sales

HARRIET HAMILTONsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SILVERTHORNE – Despite the hype of possible post-Christmas saving, area retailers still had plenty of parking spaces available the day after the holiday.”It’s just not as busy as last year,” Silverthorne Adidas Outlet manager Saul Herbert said Wednesday. Herbert’s observation falls in line with preliminary figures released this week by several financial and retail analysts. MasterCard Advisors – a division of the credit card company – reported Tuesday that 2007 holiday sales increased only 3.6 percent from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24, substantially lower than last year’s 6.6 percent gain during the same period. The International Council of Shopping Centers said Wednesday that same-store sales increases during the holiday period have yet to reach their lowest pre-season projection of 2.5 percent. Even the price of Target stock fell this week after the retail giant announced flat seasonal sales in its stores nationwide.

Cashiers were busy Wednesday at Silverthorne’s Target, one of Summit County’s largest retailers, but only eight out of 16 check-out lines were open. The video games and Christmas decoration areas were among the most crowded in the store, but, despite the large discounts available on seasonal merchandise, the shelves were still well stocked at midday. Lake View Meadows resident Wendy Leonardi wasn’t complaining about the lack of crowds. She and five-year-old Dominick pushed a cart overflowing with Christmas items through the Target aisles.”I buy all my things for next Christmas this week,” she said. “It makes a huge difference. The first day is usually the best – by tomorrow afternoon it’ll all be picked over.”In addition to holiday merchandise, the potential for deep discounts attracted shoppers and accounted for some distinctively impulsive buys. Breckenridge resident Alex Belleville displayed her new faux leopard-skin slip-on shoes – marked down from $69.99 to $16.16 – in front of the Nike outlet store.”I never would’ve bought them if they weren’t on sale,” she said.

Belleville’s mother-in-law, Marie Belleville, visiting from Kalamazoo, Mich., added that she’d found the “buy of the century” – a blue denim skirt for $30 – at the Coldwater Creek outlet.”What more can you ask?” she said.The rising cost of gasoline as well as the recent drastic changes in the housing market have both been blamed for what some call a lackluster holiday spending season. On-line sales, however, continue to grow. According to Internet market researcer comScore, Inc., e-commerce spending for the holiday season through December, 2007 outpaced that of 2006 by 19 percent.Despite national trends, several local boutique retailers reported strong sales for Dec 26.”The day after Christmas is really busy,” Breckenridge’s Milagros of Colorado owner Chris Matten said Wednesday. “So many people are up here on vacation and they’re doing their Christmas when they get home. So today they’re still shopping. We’ve only seen a few locals.” Aside from last year, when the Denver blizzard affected visitor numbers county-wide, Matten reports steady holiday growth for the designer soap store.

“It’ll be busy all week,” he said. “And taper off after the new year.”Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-4651, or at

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