Reports show slow holiday season in 2012 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Reports show slow holiday season in 2012

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Stocks closed lower Wednesday after a weak holiday shopping report sent shares of major retailers lower.

Falling stocks outnumbered rising ones two to one on the New York Stock Exchange.

But, it's a different story locally.

Over at the Boulevard at South End, co-owner Carmen Ellis is thankful for a successful holiday season.

Sales doubled this year.

"It seems we had locals that really loved to support local small mom and pop shops that came in," said Ellis.

The store sells unique items. Many of the items are handmade by local vendors.

Ellis believes the store's eclectic theme gave them an advantage for Christmas shopping.

"You can buy just about anything for anybody here, and we had several customers that did that, they came in and did their whole shopping at our store," said Ellis.

But not all stores raked in big bucks this year.

While big chains like Wal-mart and Gap did well, other stores took a hit.

A report by Mastercard Advisors Spending Pulse shows holiday sales rose only .7 percent from late October to Christmas Eve.

That's compared to the 2 percent increase stores saw last year.

"I pretty much budgeted the same way but the prices were a little more expensive so I didn't get as much as I did last year," said shopper Neketa Coleman.

Coleman says she prefers the deals found at mom and pop shops over huge department stores.

"With department stores they don't have the incentive to give you more of a discount because everything is in bulk and people are going to come regardless," said Coleman.

Analysts say many stores earn about 30 percent of their annual sales during the Christmas season.

But the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy and rising concerns over the fiscal cliff played a role in cautionary spending this year.

Many stores slashed prices today hoping to lure in customers.

Luckily, Ellis didn't have to slash prices. 

"It's been amazing," she said.

On a bright note, reports show online sales grew this year and increased about 23 percent.

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