Local stores report favorable holiday season

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Photo by TONIA BROOKS Local businesses report a positive holiday shopping experience.

BONNERS FERRY — National data gathered by Mastercard found the 2019 holiday sales rose, and further, that online shopping reflected a 19 percent increase over 2018’s online holiday shoppers.

The shopping study also found that in-store sales rose for the year, but at a much smaller percentage: 1.2 percent.

Macy’s and Nordstrom, department store giants, reported that, even though their online sales grew 6.9 percent, their total sales fell 1.8 percent.

According to Barron’s, a theory explaining the increase in online shopping is because Black Friday was on Nov. 29, later than most years. This shortened shopping window may have caused shoppers to feel stressed for time, and so they may have opted for more online purchases.

The data consensus is that people utilized online shopping platforms more than in-person shopping or physical holiday shopping at local business.

The reported data by Mastercard is very different from what local Bonners Ferry business reported.

“I think it was a lot better than usual,” said Kendall Cady of Under the Sun. “We beat last year’s numbers for Christmas.”

Heather Tobin, a sales associate for Under the Sun, said, “We had people still buying stuff after the holidays.”

“Our after Christmas sale, to try to sell off the holiday items, was better than usual,” Cady said. “We had a lot more last-minute shoppers as well; they usually tend to spend more.”

As found in the data, Cady and Tobin both agreed that the way the dates fell for both Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to affect customer behavior.

“I feel like it was that everyone just didn’t feel like Christmas happened,” said Tobin.

Cady concluded, “I think the date, being the way it was, how it came early, or Thanksgiving was later, really threw people off this year.”

Staff at Vinyl Expressions, next door to Under the Sun on Main Street, reported similar findings.

“There were not a lot of slow moments around here, and that’s a good thing,” Ketta Everhart said. “It seems like we were busy all the time. There was always somebody walking by and wandering in.”

Brenda Dirks of The Dressing Room, located downtown at the corner of Main and Kootenai streets, also reported positive holiday shopping sales.

“I think we did really, really good,” said Dirks. “We had lots of customers.”

Dirks attributes much of the holiday sales success to the many holiday events that were going on in Bonners Ferry.

“The town did lots of different things that helped,” said Dirks, “The 9B Ladies on the Loose event, the various craft shows and antique sales, the Santa event at the Georgia Mae Plaza, all those really helped sales.”

“We get a lot of customers from Montana, Canada and Sandpoint,” said Dirks. “People ask where they should eat, and I would direct them to other business downtown to help each other out.”

In regard to the data presented by Mastercard, Dirks sums it up and can pretty well speak for the other local business surveyed; “I would say no to that, I think everybody did well.”

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