Weak Holiday Sales Affect Retailers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A national report says this years shopping season was disrupted for a number of reasons causing the weakest holiday retail sales since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession.

But retailers in Kansas City say they didn't feel as big of a pinch as some of the national stores.

If holiday sales truly are a crucial indicator of the economy's strength, then by the looks of Kansas City's streets, the Metro is fairing well.

However, according to the MasterCard Advisors spending pulse, sales in the two months before Christmas, nationally, increased less than one percent over last year.

"I think that that would just be indicative, you know they kinda could see the big dropoff with the fiscal cliff looming," said Tommy Palmer of Westport's The Bunker.

Palmer says he doesn't think that is the case here in the metro, however.

"I mean we get a watch in and within the hour, we've sold 12 of them," he said.

"We're up from last year.  Up for December.  Up for year to date, up for the 4th quarter so its been pretty wild in here," said Palmer.

The day after Christmas shoppers fill the sidewalks and stores -- some with a budget in mind.

"I usually give myself a budet of 20 dollars for everyone in my family and stick to that," said college student and restaurant worker Claire McFarland.

Others are willing to keep their pocketbook wide open, even after the presents under the tree were unwrapped.

"I have no concept of budgeting around this time of year.  I just kind of dive in and spend what I have to spend and worry about it the next 11 or 12 months," said Lucas Wetzel.

While the report cited bad weather and national distractions for keeping many shoppers away, Wetzel says for his family it was Christmas as usual.

"I probably spend a little more this year," he said.

Huge retailer Nebraska Furniture Mart wasn't as positive but says sales this holiday season are still moderately up from last year.

Now retailers are slashing prices hoping big discounts may make up for slow sales in some areas.

Typically, November and December account for up to 40 percent of stores annual sales.  Retailers still have time to make up for any lost ground.

This final week of December could be very important to the outlook for 2013.



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