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Local Retailer Flourishes Despite Dismal Holiday Statistics Nationwide

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LAWTON, Okla_Christmas has come and gone but retailers nationwide still feel the sting of the lackluster shopping season. Statistics for the 2012 holiday shopping season reported this year to be the worst since 2008, when the nation was deep in recession.

A healthy shopping season usually has a 3 to 4% increase on the previous year, but 2012 saw only a .7% increase.

But it's not all bad news. Ramon John of Flowers By Ramon said he had heard times are tough, but his sales numbers painted a different picture. In fact, Ramon saw an increase of sales from 2011.

"Everybody's wanting service along with their purchases," said John.

And that's the motivation behind every part of his flower and gift shop. Something he said has helped make him immune from the poor holiday shopping season.

"The big box stores as they're called, you're just a number. And that's the difference. We know you. We learn you by name," John explained.

And because he knows his customer, by name and face, not by statistic, he can deliver the product he knows they want, and that is a luxury the big box stores don't have.

"We try our very best to buy what people want. That's the only way we can stay in business," John said.

He tastes, tests and looks every item over with a careful eye. John knows he can't get it right all of the time, but that's just the nature of the business.

"If a shop owner or a merchandiser could buy exactly what he needed, he'd never have a sale. But we can't do that, " said John.

With what little Christmas merchandise he had left, he held a sale to make room for a new crop of product, and hopefully another year of big sales.

"Whatever's in season, whatever's in style. That's the thing about coming to a store like this, we buy the trends. Whatever is going on, that's what you find here."

Experts cite Hurricane Sandy and the Presidential Election as major contributors to the lower sales, but warn Washington's handling of the budget could be what's really unsettling consumers -- something they worry could cause the lower sales trend to continue.

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