For many mall and street-side retailers, the 2013 holiday season proved to be a good one.
Taffetta Lassen's family owns The Gifted Gardener on J Street in Midtown Sacramento. She says she saw a definite dip during the recession. But now, with the economic recovery and the end of state worker furloughs, sales are bouncing back.
"It’s much better this year than it was last year or the two preceding years. People have settled into their homes and they’re more secure in their homes now, and so they can have a little bit more guilt," Lassen says.
In Roseville, the Westfield Galleria mall also credits the strengthening housing market for its strong showing this year.
"The early signs are that we did see increases, both in what we measure – which is the traffic, the number of people coming into the property – and then also sales. Whether it’s our smaller shops or our larger department stores, all signs are that the sales are up." says the Galleria's Stephanie Ringey.
But the rising economic tide didn't lift every retailer's boat. At Sacramento's ever-struggling Downtown Plaza mall, empty storefronts aren't helping the shops that remain. And Rebecca Garcia at Sheikh Shoes says many shoppers think the mall's already been shut down for construction of the new Kings arena.
"There was nowhere to put our shoes last year. We would have to be running back and forth. Now, it wasn’t that much. It was just like waves of people coming in, that’s how it was" Garcia says, adding that the customers who did enter the store spent the same amount of money as last year.
It's too soon for anything beyond anecdotal evidence. The hard numbers won't come til later. That's because while the holiday season may be over, Gift Card season is now in full swing.