Kimberly Houk ReportingThere is just a little more than 24 hours left for those of you who still need to buy Christmas presents. The good thing about that is many things are going on sale, but you had better be prepared to fight some crowds.
The crowds are out in full force. The holiday shopping season got off to a slow start this year, after economists say big discount retailers just didn't discount enough. But the bells hanging off the door at a toy store in Foothill Village haven't stopped ringing.
Diane Sartain, Tutoring Toy: “It has been our best Christmas in 16 years. We are just so grateful. WE don’t even know what to attribute it to.”
Over the past two weeks sales have picked up for every store across the board. Big chain retailers started slashing prices, gas prices came down, and people started buying.
Susie Brass, Salt Lake City: “I probably spent more this year than other years. Had a lot of fun and found some good bargains.”
Kelly Matthews, Economist, Wells Fargo: “The last two weeks, perhaps because of the decline in gas prices, we’ve actually had two very strong sales weeks.”
December's sales numbers won't come out until January, and even though they don't appear to be as strong as in years past, Matthews says the low numbers has more to do with people shopping on-line and many simply choosing to buy gift cards. Both are ways of shopping that aren't counted in the traditional measurements.
Kelly Matthews: “What they are measuring with sales is the products that are going out rather than the revenue per se that's coming in. When someone buys a gift card the company gets the revenue, but the products aren't being measured as going out."
But whether or not products are moving off shelves, some store owners are still seeing a lot of green this Christmas season.
Diane Sartain: “We work six days a week and the phone is ringing off the hook.”
Another factor for strong sales here in Utah is the strong job growth this year. About 30,000 new jobs were created this year in Utah, and people making money generally means people will be out spending money.