Local retailers fared much better than their big city neighbors this holiday shopping season.
Some shoppers, looking for ways to avoid the madness of the mall, spent their holiday dollars in smaller shops.
The Christmas parade on Nov. 26 provided several stores located along Forest Ave. one of their busiest days for sales.
"It introduced our business to a lot of people," Charity Norris said, about the new business she manages for her parents Dave and Mary Jo Archer. The Potters Emporium, opened last August and specializes in inspirational items. "For our first Christmas open, we did really well."
Wal-Mart experienced brisk holiday sales expected to continue as the weather turns warmer after last week's snowfall.
"Fear of a major snowstorm helped bring customers out during the early part of last week," a Wal-Mart spokesman said, explaining the rush by customers preparing for Mother Nature's worst, and the possibility of a missed day of Christmas shopping.
National retailers, taking into consideration consumer confidence was inching the economy upwards, had high hopes at the beginning of this Christmas season. But when sales were less than expected, they soon found themselves nervously scrambling to get shoppers to open their wallets for after-Christmas and year-end sales.
Stores slashed prices even deeper to squeeze sales from what is winding up to be an unimpressive holiday season nationally. Some stores, including J.C. Penney and Target, were encouraging customers to spend their gift cards immediately, since the sales are recorded only when the cards are redeemed.
"The holiday season will be told on how many gift cards get redeemed in the week after Christmas," versus how many wait until January and February, said Ellen Tolley, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, which estimated $17.24 billion worth -- or roughly 8 percent of holiday sales -- will be sold in gift cards this season.