‘Tis a good season for shopping

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like a successful holiday season, say several local retailers. “I think it’s going to be a bit busier than last season,” said Eli Nasr, owner of NASR Bros. Jewelers at 1400 Shoal Creek Drive in The Shops at Highland Village.

“People just seem happier,” said Dana Bondar, owner of Extravaganza at 6100 Long Prairie Road, Suite 700, in the Highlands Ranch Shopping Center in Flower Mound. “It’s a much better atmosphere.”

Local retail owners’ perceptions echo the National Retail Federation, which is forecasting a 4.1 percent increase in sales across the U.S., pumping an estimated $616.9 billion into the economy as millions shop for families and friends during the height of the two-month retail season.

Sales in November and December can account for as much as 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales, officials say. The average increase in sales for the past 10 years is 2.9 percent. Last year, sales grew 3.1 percent.

In 2012, sales dipped to 2.9 percent but still far above the 2008 decrease of 4.4 percent in sales. The following year, in 2009, sales were up a mere half percent. The next two years, 2010 and 2011, sales jumped significantly, bringing an increase of 5.3 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.

Nasr has seen other changes in his industry, noting the lengthening of the wedding season from several months to at least eight months out of the year – a boon to jewelry sales. “Almost the whole year is wedding season,” he said.

Nasr believes the Pandora line will still be a hot item this year during the holidays as will Michele watches for women. And diamonds are always a big seller, particularly during the holiday shopping season.

According to the National Retail Federation, jewelry ranks as the highest percentage of sales during the holiday season at 28 percent while electronics come in at 23 percent.

Bondar has stocked up on a variety of gifts at her stationery, invitation and gift boutique. The store carries a large line of Tyler candles and, new this year, Tyler-scented detergent.

The shop also carries a full line of items perfect for hostess gifts from initialed soap dispensers to wine glasses, recipe books, ceramic ball ornaments, wall art and more. “I’m really excited about the holidays,” she said. “I love Christmas.”

Paula Wagner, owner of Total Package Marketing, works with a number of retailers in the area, including WineStyles and Brightside Boutique.

“What I hear is, overall, people are spending money,” she said. “I think it will be a good year.”

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