Season good to area stores

Posted: Monday, January 03, 2005

Contrary to news reports that retailers across the country did worse than they had hoped this Christmas shopping season, central Kenai Peninsula merchants generally were pleased with their sales.

Soldotna department store Fred Meyer, in fact, did very well, according to manager Ron Delaney.

"I can't give you any specific numbers, but we exceeded our expectations," Delaney said Friday.

He said the store's toy department did the best, and the electronics department also had a strong showing.

"Some electronic games, like PlayStation 2, blew out early," Delaney said.

"Some of the games had limited supplies from the manufacturer and we sold all we had," he said.

"Overall, I'm very happy with the season."

In Kenai, jeweler Sid Morris also was pleased with holiday sales.

Jewelry items made with white gold outsold most other pieces in Olga's Jewelry.

"We just had a good holiday season," he said.

For a number of reasons, Beemun's variety store in Soldotna experienced sales that were somewhat off from last year, according to co-owner Steve Beeson.

"We did fine. We were down just a little bit, but I'm delighted with where we ended up," he said.

"There are lots of factors that affect us — the amount of snow we get, when schools are closed and if people go to Anchorage," Beeson said.

When asked if any one particular area of the store did better than others, Beeson said, "We did very well with Christmas decor. That was the hot one for us."

Especially good for Bee-mun's were sales of fiber-optic Christmas trees, according to Beeson.

"I'm pleased with how we did," he said.

Ron Goecke, owner of Gallery 25 in Kenai, also liked the with the way the shopping season ended, considering how slowly it began.

"The way the season started, I was pleased in the wind up," Goecke said.

The bulk of his store's sales were in custom framing of items to be given away as gifts, and he said sales ended up being "about the same" as last year.

"I thought they would be a little better this year, but the way they started, well, the last-minute stuff made up for it," he said.

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