The Christmas shopping rush may have passed for retailers, but for some in the local consignment and thrift business -- an industry that's experienced climbing sales amid the economic downturn -- the bustle seems to be continuing to close out the year.
The days after Christmas usually mean busy times for Rags Consignments, at 3129 28th St. in Boulder, as consignors make way for their new presents, recycle unwanted gifts or make good on New Year's organizing resolutions, said Kate Hansen, general manager.
"Today, the Monday after (Christmas), we were slammed in the consigning area all day," she said.
And considering how brisk business has been lately -- Hansen said Rags is having one of its best Decembers in its 15-year history -- she's optimistic the increased inventory will turn into sales.
"Typically in January, we really get cooking," she said.
Decembers for the Buffalo Exchange consignment shop, at 1717 Walnut St. in Boulder, often mean higher intake but lower sales, said Marika Evanger, store manager.
But this time around, the store rang in one of its busiest Christmases in Evanger's seven years working at the store, she said.
"This year, I feel people got pretty secondhand-savvy," she said. "For whatever reason this year, it seemed that secondhand in general was more trendy and popular."
In Longmont, The Orange Door consignment store, at 370 Main St., posted a 25 percent gain in its gross sales as compared to this time last year, said owner Brian Brown.
"I would say our last quarter is so much better than our first quarter in terms of sales," he said. "I think there's a lull in January. ... I think it's less about a calendar year than it is a season."
So the Front Range's mild-to-nonexistent winter thus far is pushing back or possibly eating sales.
"The season has definitely not hit its stride," he said. "People are impulsive and say, 'Hey, it's cold out, I need a coat,' or 'Hey, it's cold out, I need to get that sweater sold.'"
Nationally, the resale industry has fared well amid the economic downturn as consumers sought out discounted merchandise and turned to sell their items to bring in some needed cash, officials for the Association of Resale Professionals have said.
The association does not have specific data on end-of-year activity; but, anecdotally, the for-profit and nonprofit retailers do see some gains, said Adele R. Meyer, executive director for the resale trade association.
"I can tell you that the not-for-profit segment of the industry sees an increase in donations the last week of the year as people try to take advantage of tax deductions before Dec. 31," she said in an e-mail to the Camera. "The for-profit shops see some activity from suppliers who may clean out their closets when they put their new gifts away."
The stores also gain sales from people purchasing evening wear and accessories for New Year's Eve parties, she added.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.