Like several national retail outfits, local retailers felt the pinch during the holiday season.
A handful of local retailers told The Brazil Times Wednesday that holiday sales were not as good this year when comparing them to past seasons.
"It seemed to me that everyone waited until the last minute," Blue Moon Gifts owner Debbie Dennany said. "But the last week before Christmas, we were swamped.
"I had a feeling a lot of people were waiting for the last minute."
Earlier Wednesday, Target Corp., the nation's second-leading retailer, released sales reports from the holiday season. Those reports were not as strong as initially hoped.
According to those reports, Target Corp. stated that its sales may have fallen in December.
Local retailers echoed those sentiments.
Dennany has operated Blue Moon Gifts, 10 W. National Ave., Brazil, for close to two years. On Wednesday, she said her holiday sales were roughly half from last year.
"I could tell a huge difference this year," Dennany said, admitting she didn't expect the drop off. "But I still had a lot of new people that had not been in before. I'm not really discouraged."
Wooden Key Assistant Manager Nellie McFarland said sales at the store, 75 Forest Plaza, Brazil, were slightly down as well.
"They're down a little bit," McFarland said. "We'd like to see them a little better, but the loyal customers were here."
McFarland said despite the slight drop, she felt the business did quite well this holiday season.
"Really, it amazed me we did as well as we did," she said. "The last few days, it was like they were taking everything off the shelf. The last minute shopping was great. I think as a whole, we held our own."
At the national level, MasterCard, Inc., recently released a gauge of consumer spending during the season, which showed an increase in holiday spending. However, the estimates did not include gasoline and automobile sales.
Officials with Clay County's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, 2150 E. National Ave., Brazil, however, differed from the national opinion.
"We did alright," Wal-Mart Assistant Manager Jacque Herfel said. "As a store, we did alright."
Officials with the retailer's national media relations would not comment any further.
In addition, officials with Brazil business Cato, 65 Forest Plaza, Brazil, would not comment regarding holiday sales.