Although the economy is still struggling, some local retailers say they fared better this holiday season than last.
"We definitely had more shopping traffic this year. We're over our goal and over last year," said Summer Mason, a store manager at Peebles in Marietta.
According to The Associated Press, that was the trend nationally this holiday season. Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, there was a 3.6 percent increase in retail sales, compared with a 2.3 percent drop during the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which track all forms of payment, including cash.
ASHLEY HILL The Marietta Times
Two Kmart employees assist a customer with a return in the Marietta store Monday. Nationally, retail sales were up compared to this time last year.
Mason said it seemed that shoppers' budgets weren't as tight this year as last.
"I don't think people had the limit they had last year, or they may have had a limit but it wasn't as tight as last year," she said.
Mason added that items on the stores' shelves didn't last long, and many shoppers took advantage of store coupons throughout the holiday shopping season.
Holiday sales by the numbers:
Retail sales rose 3.6 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, compared to the same period last year.
Online sales rose 15.5 percent on the season.
Consumer electronics sales were up 5.9 percent.
Footwear sales were up 5 percent.
Jewelry sales were up 5.6 percent.
Source: The Associated Press
"It seemed like every time we put something out it was gone," she said. "We also had a lot more coupons out, and I think that helped out a lot, too. They were saving, and it was a win-win for everybody."
A manager at the Marietta Kmart also said sales were up in the store during the holiday shopping season.
"Our sales are up a little over last year, but we had about the same amount of traffic," she said.
The manager noted that the Thanksgiving weekend and just before Christmas were the busiest times for the store.
She added that shoppers spent less money on recreational items this year than last and focused more on necessities.
"People were buying more necessity things, like kitchen appliances... more needful items than frivolous," she said.
The Associated Press reported that footwear sales were up 5 percent this year, and luxury item sales were up 0.8 percent, compared to last year's 20 percent decline.
It also reported that online sales, which make up less than 10 percent of all retail sales, jumped the weekend before Christmas and increased 15.5 percent on the season.