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One of 'best' years, despite some caution
By Matt Stone

December 17, 2005

Shoppers seem to be a little more guarded this holiday season, with area stores so far reporting a somewhat cautious approach to the annual ritual of gift buying.

“Buyers are a little more conservative this year,” said Zach Berning, owner of Berning’s Jewelry. “Smaller-ticket items are being sold more easily than bigger-ticket items.”

Despite this trend, Berning’s, like many other businesses, are recording sales that match or exceed expectations.

“We’re having one of our best years ever; just different types of items are selling more,” Berning said.

Gloria Bloomer, marketing director for the Casa Paloma shopping center, said, “Most of the stores have reported solid sales, on par or above projections.”

Pat Garner, manager of the Red Rock Trading Post at Chandler Fashion Center, agreed, adding, “We doubled our day-after-Thanksgiving sales.”

When a number of different stores were asked to summarize their sales, reactions included: “Great,” “good,” “busy” and “excellent.”

While buying up normally hot items, shoppers have also begun searching for more unique gifts to give this season. Finding a completely original gift has been maddening in the past, but stores try to ease the pain with variety.

“Smaller independent stores will have better selection,” said Berning. “We try to find things that aren’t your run-of-the-mill items.”

With a wide array of gifts at the fingertips of residents, one needs only to look around to see what are the popular buys this year.

“Bling-bling” purses that have sequins lining them from Abbey Gardens are selling well, says Hallie Adams, the owner, who added that the longtime gift and tea shop searches long and hard for unique presents.

“I’d suggest credit card holders with rhinestones. And, of course, jewelry.”

The credit card holders are a relatively inexpensive choice, running around $20.

Other options on the affordable end of the spending spectrum are bead wraps--colorful assortments of beads that can be wrapped around candles, costing $7.50 a strand, at Definitely Debra,

For those looking to spend more on select items, Red Rock Trading Post offers copper plates that range from $59 to $212. Berning’s also has an assortment of items including adjustable chains for pendants and necklaces at $150.

Unique gifts are byproducts of the motifs this season from shopping centers and stores alike.

“Pampering is the theme at Casa Paloma,” said Bloomer.

“Yellow metal is becoming popular again,” Berning said.

“Trail of Painted Ponies are going like crazy,” Garner added.

The resurgence of particular products has given some flexibility for gift-seekers this season. From Indian masks to martini and champagne glasses, there is plenty to aid the worried shopper in the arduous task of finding that unique something for that special someone.


Photo by David Stone


























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