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Small businesses see holiday sales soar

By Alexis Fernandez 11:05 PM December 16, 2013

Local appeal gives some shops an edge

ANCHORAGE - With just nine days to go, Christmas shoppers are out in full swing.

But national retailers aren’t so cheerful this year.

Retail revenue is expected to rise by only 2.4 percent, compared to 3 percent in 2012 and well below the 4 percent in 2011, according to ShopperTrak’s 2013 holiday shopping forecast. They blame the staggering economy, jitters over the government’s health care plans, tight budgets and online shopping.

But for local businesses like David Green Master Furrier, it’s having the opposite effect.

The holidays are the busiest time of the year regardless of how national retailers are doing, said owner Shani Green.

“You want to feel good no matter what …  so you know it’s great to get a television, but I don’t think it’s not going to take away from a fur coat sale, it’s never been a problem (for us),” Green said.

In order to compete, however, they do offer discounts, she said.

“We always have a big sale going on during Christmas time because we want people to be motivated to come into the store,” Green said.

During November and December they sell hundreds of coats, she said.

It’s a similar story over at Ak Starfish Co., located in South Anchorage. Owner Marci Nelson said her clothing has been flying off the shelves at her five locations.

“People have been rolling in really early; I’ve been trying to get open around 8 in the morning, staying late — then 8 p.m. to take care of all the rush,” Nelson said.

She credits her local appeal to her success.

“We’re all very much invested in this community and want to support local businesses, so I’m seeing a trend towards that — where more and more people are paying attention to trying to buy locally,” Nelson said.

So whether national numbers are up or down, local shops said this year will be full of cheer.

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