"Our sales are 30 to 40 percent above normal,"said Randall Heard, owner of Marietta Wine Market. "People are actually buying higher-ticket itmes and spending more money than they did last year."
Last year, of course, was dismal for shopkeepers. Nationwide, 2008 saw holiday retail sales drop 8 percent from 2007.
Heard said sales of gift baskets were much more robust this year. The store, which has been open more than four years, has sold at least 25 baskets valued at $100 or more this holiday.
"This month we've done 50 to 60 baskets, while last year we may have done 20 in the whole month of December," Heard said. "Businesses are giving more thank-you gifts than they did last year."
Atlanta did not see the severe weather last weekend that crippled many parts of the Northeast and kept shoppers away from stores on "Super Saturday," the last Saturday before Christmas. Still, retail analyst ShopperTrak reported that sales in the South were off nearly 15 percent on that Saturday, compared to the same day in 2008.
ShopperTrak, based in Chicago, found that nationwide sales last Saturday totaled $6.9 billion, as opposed to $7.9 billion in 2008 and $8.7 billion in 2007.
James Hanison, an executive team leader at the Target store on Cobb Parkway in Smyrna, declined to provide specific sales figures but said the discount retailers sale pricing and new price match guarantee had brought in more shoppers this year.
"We are very happy with the traffic we've seen this year," Hanison said, and he expects his store to remain busy next weekend as buyers cash in gift cards.
At the Aerosole women's shoe store in The Avenues at East Cobb, boots are what vacationers are buying ahead of trips to New York and other places inundated with snow, store manager Desiree Anthony said.
Among the store's 150 styles of shoes, two particular boot styles have been very popular, she said, and both are sale priced at $69.99. Company executives have also added a 20 percent off total purchase promotion that will continue through Dec. 31, she said.
"A lot of people getting ready to go out of town, and need boots for cold weather and snow," Anthony said.