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Crossroads retailers report strong holiday shopping season

By ALLISON MILES
Dec. 21, 2013 at 6:21 a.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2013 at 6:22 a.m.


A look at previous years' sales tax allocations:

• 2004: $1,707,519

• 2005: $1,822,594

• 2006: $1,955,131

• 2007: $2,196,514

• 2008: $2,195,937

• 2009: $2,280,312

• 2010: $1,948,125

• 2011: $2,310,222

• 2012: $2,830,773

• 2013: $2,629,821

Numbers represent sales tax allocations paid to Victoria in February. Because of the Texas comptroller's office timeline, February's numbers most accurately depict December sales.

Source: Texas Comptroller website

As the clock ticks down to Christmas, many people find themselves planning parties, packaging presents and hitting the stores yet one more time to find that last-minute gift.

Still, consumers aren't the only ones busy this time of the year.

For retailers, the holiday shopping season is big business. And, while it is still underway, those throughout the Crossroads say it is shaping up to be a strong one.

At Regal Jewelers, Black Friday wasn't as hectic as in the past, co-owner Irfan Motiwala said. In the days that followed, however, activity picked up.

"So far so good. It's turned out better than expected," he said, noting diamond studs and engagement rings are always popular around Christmastime. "That's the good news."

Still, he said, he can't really compare this season to 2012 until the year's end.

"The last weekend before Christmas - that's the biggest time for us," Motiwala said. "We won't know until the end of the year."

For Eleanor Deuel, who owns Pizazz, the busiest days also lie ahead. The season does look promising, however.

"It started late, but things are very busy now," she said inside her store. "And the closer it gets to Christmas, the busier we get."

This year, as in the past, she said decorative crosses seem to be big sellers at the Victoria gift shop.

"Those go every year," she explained.

The National Retail Federation, in a news release, predicted November and December retail sales to increase 3.9 percent this year, ringing in at $602.1 billion nationwide. That's up from the 3.5 percent increase that came last year.

Growth in the U.S. housing market and consumer trends toward buying bigger-ticket items give retailers reasons to be cautiously optimistic, according to the release. Still, issues such as governmental funding, the debt ceiling, income growth and more means much remains up in the air.

As for another Crossroads shop, Maurices, the season got off to a big start with Black Friday, Assistant Manager Marisol Valderrama said. She said it has been busy ever since.

Valderrama, who has worked at the shop since 2010, said holiday sales have improved each year. She attributed that partly to ongoing renovations throughout the Victoria Mall.

A number of stores, Maurices included, have relocated to renovated, more modern spaces.

"People are seeing it is worth it to stay in town," she said.

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