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Shoppers ring up records

Sydney Selvon
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 23/05) - Business is definitely better in comparison with last year's holiday season. This explains the big smiles you are seeing these days on the faces of store owners around town.

NNSL Photo/graphic

"I've found it, a gold chain for my boyfriend!" exclaimed Rita Catholique, seen here at Eldonn Jewellery, YK Centre - Sydney Selvon/NNSL photo

Affected, but undeterred by the road closure south of the city, some retailers had their products airlifted. Others were anticipating, as late as Wednesday, that the trucks would arrive ahead of Christmas.

"There's a lot more movement this year than in 2004. Our special Christmas section is almost completely depleted, but the company is airlifting products," said Mary Chipman, a manager at Saan.

Light furniture and decorative objects formed the greater part of the special Christmas section.

"Boxing Day is our best selling day. It's going to be rough," Chipman said.

The same kind of enthusiasm prevails at Wal-Mart. The depletion of the first stock of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Console within 90 minutes is now legend. More of this hot product, priced at $532 including GST, is now on its way.

"It will arrive after Christmas. We are using air freight because of the ferry problem," said assistant manager Jon Whitford. "The trucks will now all arrive at the same time, after the road opens. We will make up for what we lost time on."

Children's preferred toys and games at Wal-Mart are Tomagotchi, a handheld game, little boy's action figures, Batmobiles, the Dance and Dress Dora dolls, Cranium toys, iDogs and remote control Ski-Doos.

"The electronics section is the No. 1 seller among all departments. Games, computer and console software, movies and music are always great sellers," Whitford said.

Michelle and Dave Lucas, who became owners of Sears one year ago are happy with the outcome of their investment. "We are seeing bigger shipments coming in from catalog sales than last year," Michelle said.

"I had a desk job during six years, now my feet are aching as I run around the store," said Dave.

For their first year in their new location at YK Centre, the Williams family is happy with the increased performance of their business, Roy's Audiotronics. "It's amazing. Satellite radios are selling at the rate of 20 daily. It's huge for any product," said Robin Williams, store manager.

"Another product that is exploding is the iPod. A third great seller is the flat screen TV."

TV prices range from $2,300 to over $3,500.

Though the road closure affects the business, owner Maureen Williams and Robin are confident more stock will be in by Boxing Day.

Gail and John Probe ventured into the jewelry retailing business in Yellowknife a year ago, coming from Edmonton. At their Eldonn Jewellery shop, YK Centre, they found out that the hottest selling product is the Canadian diamond.

"Jewelry sales tend to step up the nearer you are to Christmas," John commented.

Customer Rita Catholique, from Lutsel K'e, had the last word. She walked into the store, examined carefully a bunch of gold chains and exclaimed: "I found it, a gold chain for my boyfriend!"