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Twenty-seven Harvard Square store owners told the CRIMSON that this year's Christmas sales are equal to those of last year, in response to a recent poll.
Nationwide sales figures, on the other hand, show a general decline in buying when compared with last year's totals. But happy Square merchants find the Harvard man, with his "liberal, if inconsistent buying," a great boon to business.
The store officials reported that most people did their Christmas shopping early this year, and that their business from Harvard students and faculty members was unusually brisk, because classes end so close to December 25 that buying that normally was done out-of-state was done in Cambridge. While Cambridge sales went up, Boston averages dropped two percent.
One merchant felt that this loss might be due to the unseasonal weather. "Christmas shopping," he said, "depends largely on a Christmas atmosphere." Last week's warm, September-like weather dampened the giving enthusiasm of many people.
Boston stores hoped that with the change in weather over the last week, tabulations of sales might show that a "late buying rush" had pushed sales figures as high as last year's.
Cambridge store owners say that this late rush might enable them to show a record number of sales.
Books, women's clothing, and gift-ware have been the most popular items this year. Winter coats, usually making up a large proportion of sales, have slumped slightly.
Over the rest of the country, sales figures show more appreciable declines than those in the Boston area. Seven out of 12 Federal Districts suffered declines. Only Cleveland, where last year's Christmas sales were crippled by a severe snow-storm, showed an appreciable gain in profit.
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