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Holiday keeps businesses afloat

Dan Thrift/Tahoe TribuneFinding exactly what she was looking for, a purple bike for her granddaughter, Maggie Munn loads up outside Tahoe Sports LTD on Monday morning.
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Holiday sales presented a mixed bag for South Shore retailers who are trying to hold their own in an uncertain economic climate.

Most stores took in a considerable number of customers Saturday, flanked by a trickling of sales Friday and Sunday.

That’s only part of the holiday story at Accurate Audio Video of South Lake Tahoe, owner Darrell Shue said. The store let go of six large-screen televisions this weekend.



Shue received a hint of a good holiday season early last week when he noticed many shoppers scoping out the electronics lovers’ paradise at a time most avoid the crowds.

Kmart stuck to tradition this holiday. Manager Charlie Roome said the discount retailer’s busy time fell the day after Thanksgiving. That day’s sales proved “dead even” with last year’s holiday, when the nation tried to recover from the shock of the terrorist attacks.




Roome is unsure what the next 22 days will offer, but he knows what will help.

“We need snow,” he said.

Ditto, said Mark Gandt — owner of Tahoe Sports Ltd. at Crescent V.

Gandt said this past weekend’s turnout was lackluster in comparison to other Thanksgiving weekends.

“It was not as strong this year, but we had a good fall,” Gandt said, adding he’s noticed more foot traffic from the Marriott complex at Park Avenue. “We need a big December.”

Maggie Munn contributed, choosing Monday to avoid even the chance of crowds while shopping. Her 6-year-old granddaughter, Jasmine, asked for a purple bicycle for Christmas, and Munn found one assembled, complete with flowers.

“This should get her legs in shape for skiing,” she said.

Traditionally, the outdoor gear store experiences a spike over the last month of the year.

The same holds true for Sidestreet Boutique, which took in about 20 percent more sales over the holiday — especially on Saturday, Manager Stacy Dobbs said.

Even though the store enjoys steady sales throughout the year, a few fur coat sales boosted business over the holiday.

“They say there’s a decrease this year in retail, but I don’t see it,” Foot Locker Manager Chris Nakanishi said. “We’re not slowing down.”

The store is up by $1,400 to $4,000, compared to last year’s big holiday weekend with $2,600.

Nakanishi said many customers scored by finding hot items that have sold-out in big-city stores, he said, citing Tracy McGrady basketball shoes.

“We were slammed Saturday,” he said.

In line with national trends, Carson City Costco Manager Bob Tote reported a 4 percent increase for the mass merchandiser.

Overall, the Thanksgiving weekend only presents half the picture of holiday sales. In the past few years, the weekend has accounted for 10 percent of sales across the United States, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported Monday.

Sales over the Internet pulled in 61 percent more business compared with the same day last year, according to BizRate.com, a research company.

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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