Holiday season sales up for Brookfield businesses as national retailers slump
Several businesses say this season was more profitable than past
As major retailers like Sears, Target and GameStop reported a drop in holiday sales in 2012, several small business owners in Brookfield say they saw improved sales during the holiday shopping season.
Many businesses are still recovering from the economic recession, which wiped out small businesses and retail chain locations alike and left millions unemployed nationwide.
The National Retail Federation estimated in October that holiday sales for 2012 would increase 4.1 percent from 2011's sales to $580 billion, the most optimistic forecast released since the recession. The National Retail Federation defines holiday sales as retail industry sales in November and December.
"December sales were slightly below our expectations, as strong results late in the month did not completely offset softness in the first three weeks," Gregg Steinhafel, president of Target Corp., said in a press release.
Locally, the news was better as small businesses reported a positive outcome in holiday sales.
"We were fortunate to experience an increase in sales for the 2012 holiday season and believe that a key to this success was our decision to increase the added-value offers for our guests," Lynn Marie Reich, director of sales and marketing for Neroli Salon & Spa, said.
"Our fourth quarter was exceptionally strong, capped by a holiday season significantly surpassing our expectations," David Matsudaira, CEO of Squire Fine Men's Apparel said.
Sendik's Towne Center stores weren't alone in holiday sales success.
Jackie Zach, owner of The Oilierie, located at The Plaza at Calhoun and Bluemound roads, said her store was busy with people looking to shop locally this year.
"We had a great Christmas season," Zach said. "Many of our customers said they were participating in local Secret Santa groups this year, which gave us an extra boost."
The holiday season represents 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for retailers. In 2011, holiday sales represented 19 percent of total retail industry sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
Timothy Casey, economic development coordinator for the city, said the number of new retail businesses has grown over the past year.
"We saw a significant increase in the number of new retail businesses opening in Brookfield last year, and more investment by private individuals in new retail ventures over the last two years," Casey said. "Those numbers are up significantly since the depth of the recession."
Developers and franchisees are choosing Brookfield to open new businesses, with new stores coming to The Plaza in February.
Jenna Maguire, marketing and events director for Sendik's Towne Center, said the shopping center had four new leases and one relocation to its site in 2012.
In 2012, there were 33 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, three more than last year. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, consumers had an extra weekend to shop.
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