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Holiday sales strong for local businesses

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Staff Writer
Reports around the country indicate that merchants didn't do as well as hoped during the Christmas shopping season. Many were anticipating marking merchandise down drastically in January to move it out in preparation for spring arrivals.
That's good for the consumer – bad for business.
Locally, however, the picture may be a little brighter.
While some businesses didn't do quite as well as last year, they came pretty close, and some did better.
Rusty Luttrell at Bateson's Furniture said the store enjoyed record sales month after month – until Thanksgiving.
Luttrell offered several theories for this.
He thought the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election may have contributed to consumers' hesitancy.
Cold weather may have been a factor.
Christmas falling on Monday eliminated one of the busiest shopping days for many businesses – Christmas Eve.
Tommy Gerlach reported a banner season.
Gerlach said the food business is good everywhere right now.
Last year, Joe and Rachel Brown at Country Charms reported a very successful Christmas season. This year was even a little better, partly due to an increase in catalog mailings.
Rachel Brown attributes the shop's success to a couple of factors.
Brown said a good selection of in-demand Beanie Babies helped make for a successful year end.