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To toy shop owner Lynne Milot, the most wonderful time of the year also is one of the most important times of the year.
Thirty percent of the annual sales for her three Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe stores in Boulder and Broomfield counties come during the four weeks from Black Friday to Christmas.
While this holiday season’s sales are expected to be the best performing since 2006, Milot said she knows that it’s a different animal than those in years past because of the recent recession and current economic downturn.
“We’re definitely in a pretty serious downturn; it’s a big correction for overspending,” she said. “I think that our values have changed, or we’ve become clear on what we value.
“. But now people seem that they’re shopping for value, things that will enrich a child’s life. Educate, as well as entertain.”
The 2010 holiday season is expected to bring some deep and frequent discounts from national retailers and even earlier opening hours on Black Friday to capture the eye and pocketbooks of the frugal and cautious consumer. on Friday.
shopboco: Put this hashtag on your tweets to tell us about your Black Friday experiences.
The top five tips for consumers to be safe when shopping on Cyber Monday, according to Boulder based Webroot Software Inc., an Internet security firm.
1. Go straight to the site: Type a store’s Web address directly into the browser instead of clicking on search engine results.
2. Be strict about passwords: Use a different password for each site and don’t store the passwords on your browser.
3. Look for the “signs of security”: When making a financial transaction, look for the “https” in the address bar; a padlock icon in the status bar; and on sites that use SSL validation look for the address bar to turn green on secured pages.
4. Keep Paypal your pal: If using Paypal, frequently check the accounts the site debits from; separately, use a credit card instead of a debit card.
5. Watch for seasonal scams: Be wary of spam e mails claiming to be shipping confirmation or undeliverable package alerts that require opening an attachment.
The next seven days which feature Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be big determining factors in whether the projected increase for 2010 lives up to expectations. The National Retail Federation is projecting holiday sales to increase 2.3 percent to $447.1 billion in 2010. The projection would be an improvement over the 0.4 percent gain notched in 2009 and the “disastrous” 3.9 percent drop in 2008, the association said. shopper is expected to spend $688 on gifts and other holiday related merchandise this season, according to the National Retail Federation.
“We’ve seen consumers trade down in terms of how much they spend: Luxury shoppers heading to department stores; department stores to discount stores; and what items they buy,” said Kathy Grannis, a National Retail Federation spokeswoman. “It’s small changes like that, that we’ve continued to see.”
For some consumers like Broomfield resident Lynn Lum, the times remain pretty tight.
Lum’s spending power diminished after the stock market took a nosedive two years ago. The economic downturn has been tough on the fiber artist’s Troutpaws Tapestries business, too.
“I have to say, I feel like I’m more in a pinch this year than I was last year,” she said.
As a result, she’s keeping a very keen eye on her pennies; plans to spend about 40 percent to 50 percent less on Christmas gifts and is doing all the research she can to find the best deal on the laptop desired by her teenage daughter.
“I just keep checking the ads to see if somebody comes up with something good (on a 3 gigabyte laptop) without doing Black Friday,” she said, noting the post Thanksgiving day known for sharp discounts, early bird sales and bargain hungry crowds.
In past years, the hype of Black Friday exceeded the day’s performance when it came to holiday sales. Despite the appearances from the hordes of shoppers clamoring for door busting deals, the honor of the “busiest shopping day of the year” typically went to the Saturday before Christmas.
In 2009, the economy forced that to change.
“Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year,” Grannis said. “And we fully expect it to be (the busiest) this year.”