Retailers say numbers match or exceed last year
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News
Focal Point co-owner Joan Cameron said customers are shopping carefully this year, looking for value.
AMHERST – Retailers in Amherst have glad tidings for the Christmas season: some are reporting better sales than last year, while others said they’ve at least matched the previous season’s performance.
“We’ve been doing very well,” said Phil LeBlanc, who owns McCully Market with his wife.
The store owner estimates his sales are up 30 per cent.
“The passport (program) was awesome…great success,” said LeBlanc.
Black Friday and tax-free day were also worthwhile. His sense is that there are more shoppers going store-to-store, and that a larger amount of Christmas spending stayed in Amherst compared to last year.
Matthew Cormier is a manager at Dayle’s Department Store. He also felt downtown promotions have been a success, with the public lending their support to the effort.
“Seems to be going the right direction,” he said.
The store’s sales so far have been good, said Cormier, and it was his sense, like LeBlanc’s, that a few more dollars stayed in town this year.
JG Jewellers and Focal Point confirmed their season has met their expectations or equaled last year.
“Not too bad at all,” said George Douglas, co-owner of the jewellery shop.
“It’s been steady…right on par.”
Joan Cameron, who owns Focal Point with her husband, said this Christmas was about the same as last year.
She thinks people are shopping local but consumers are being careful with their purchases.
“They want value for their money,” she said.
Cameron Focal Point’s custom framing prices are competitive, so they get their share of that business.
Uptown, at the Amherst Centre Mall, Charm’s manager Randy Thurber said he’s waiting for the Christmas rush. But steady sales have still meant a good fall and winter for the shop.
“Our customers are quite loyal,” he said.
Lots of clients come from Moncton, he claimed. And speaking of Moncton, Thurber said on a recent trip he took to the city, shops seemed slower than he expected they’d be.
“People still like the print book,” said Cheryl Nickerson, manager at Coles. She thought the shop had done as well as the last couple of years. She was asked whether, given the perception book sales are down in the industry, staying even was a success.
“We think so,” she said.