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Local stores see big holiday sales

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BATON ROUGE - While national retail chains didn't get the holiday numbers they hoped for, smaller, locally owned stores didn't miss a beat this year.

Victoria's Toy Station in Mid City saw a 15-20 percent increase in holiday sales this year.

"It's wonderful. It gives us some cushion for a while," said owner DeeDee Culotta.

Apricot Lane Boutique also saw a rise in holiday sales with longer lines.

"We were really, really busy... like totally slammed the entire holiday season," said manager Kristina Petit.

The National Retail Federation projected holiday retail sales to grow 3.9 percent from last year. But a MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report shows sales rose 3.5 percent during the holiday season of November and December. That's a decent growth considering having six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

However, shoppers we spoke with today say the time to shop is now, and those shoppers want to keep the money right here in Baton Rouge.

"I've always shopped in January or about right now and it's always the best time, because it's right before all the pickings are done," said Beth Singer.

"We find it important to help the local economy, you know, just to help the community grow from the grass roots level," said Ben Bell.

Local businesses won't argue with that.

"It's really great," said Petit. "It makes me feel really great that people come and put the money right back in Baton Rouge and it stays here and doesn't go to bigger businesses."

Right now a number of national retail chains are offering deep discounts to gain shoppers' attention. The final holiday sales figures are expected to be released in January.


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