National news stories report that American consumers spent cautiously this year, disappointing many retailers, but Tecumseh seems to have run counter to the “weak sales” trend this holiday season.
Nationally, sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods in the two months before Christmas increased a mere 0.7 percent compared with last year according to a MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report. Analysts said that put sales below the healthy three to four percent growth they’d expected, and called it the “worst year-over-year performance since 2008.”
“I can’t say it’s been that way at all for us,” said Barb Bindus, co-owner of J-Bar Hobbies, 117 E. Chicago Blvd., in downtown Tecumseh. “I would say it was even better for us than last year.”
On Thursday, two days after Christmas, J-Bar had not experienced any returns, but customers were bringing in gift cards to be redeemed.
“A lot of people come in right after Christmas for that,” said Bindus. Customers were purchasing trains and more track, lighthouses and other goods.
“We’ve sold a lot of puzzles,” she said. “Also our wind-up toy replicas. People love them.”
Nanci Prezioso, who owns The Wild Iris at 101 W. Chicago Blvd., said sales were down in November, but December sales were up. She expected there would be some returns over the next few days. The research company MarketTools reports that 62 percent of returned gifts are clothing and shoes.
“Things come back largely due to sizing, but also because of a mis-match,” said Prezioso. “The gift just doesn’t match the person. It’s hard to buy some items for other people.”
The Wild Iris did well on its sale of gift cards this season.
“We had tremendous gift card sales in December, and that was probably up at least 40 percent over last year,” Prezioso said. She added that she also expected to see some of the gift card redemption to take place later. “Some people will wait until we do our sales in mid-January,” she said.