Business booming for local stores on Christmas Eve

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 24 at 7:20 PM

Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com | Twitter: @thanh412

METAIRIE, La. -- Despite slumping national retail sales figures, many local stores and stands at Lakeside Mall are thriving.

At Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, a Louisiana-based jewelry company, a steady stream of customers was flowing on Christmas Eve. Henry Marquar doesn't consider himself a procrastinator; he said he's just been busy.

"I'm here for my girlfriend. I like the combinations they're showing. This is the year I'm splurging," said Marquar.

He was in good company at the jewelry store. The shopping demographic in the store takes a noticeable turn as the number of shopping days decrease.

"Definitely the last couple of days is overwhelmingly men shopping, coming in for that last-minute easy pick-up gift," said Chad Berg, a member of the family that owns the local jewelry chain.

For a market like metro New Orleans, locality makes a difference. Where products are made can be just as important as quality and pricing.

NOLA Made is a fledgling gift company that opened a stand in Lakeside Mall this past March. It specializes in gifts, crafts and art originating in New Orleans.

That local commitment is reciprocated by customers like Michelle McRaney.

"I'm in the service industry also, and if you don't have your locals supporting those industries, then they're gone," said McRaney.

Whether they're local or big box store, the retail sector faced a challenge of having fewer shopping days this year, thanks to Thanksgiving falling deeper in the month of November.

Analysts say the compressed shopping season was made more difficult when winter storms hit the Midwest and Northeast. Despite it all, retail experts are still forecasting holiday sales to increase by more than two-percent this year.

At a Best Buy in Metairie, the parking lot was at capacity on Christmas Eve. Inside the store, televisions, tablets and video games were picked up and taken away.

Celeste Vinnett is proof that women, too, can be procrastinators. She was searching for "the" gift for the man in her life.

She said even though she may be a bit behind schedule in her shopping, Santa is going to be "very generous."

It's a statement both retailers and gift recipients hope is true.

 

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