Christmas Season Critical For Retailers

For most retailers, the Christmas season is critical. Now, with the year ending, merchants are busy adding up the receipts to see if the holiday season was a good one.

At Biloxi's Edgewater Mall, Louis Villanpando has been doing business for 30 years. Louis and his wife own M and L gifts. The store specializes in collectibles. ''It has been a good year for us," Villanpando pointed out, " We have been at this for a long time, and yes, Christmas is always critical." He estimates his business was up about five percent this holiday season compared to last.

Christmas was also an important time for Matt Helm. He's co-owner of the Gulf Coast Card Store at the mall. The store has been there five years, but until this year, it was a kiosk. With more merchandise now, and higher rent, Christmas was more important than ever. "For us, it was pretty good, about what we expected," Helm said.

Helm says summer is also a good time for his business, because of the tourist trade. But still, Christmas receipts are normally double any other month. The holidays also mean a lot of hard work for those in retail, just ask Louis Villapando, who has been at this for three decades. He says at this time of year, his work load is typically 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Jeff Lawson