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Business Down for Some Merchants

The average American plans to spend 37 percent less on holiday gifts this year, according to a recent survey. The average holiday shopper will spend $773, down from $1,220 last year. Forty-four percent plan to spend under $500.

The sharp decline in planned holiday spending by consumers was discovered during the third annual holiday survey conducted by, a financial crisis and treatment center.

The aftermath of September 11 and with an economy in recession, Emery County business owners hope more than ever to draw shoppers into their stores, but for some, business is down.

"We can see a definite change in shopping. We're down at least 40 percent from last year," said Lisa Bawden of County Sole in Huntington.

The family-owned shoe store opened just in time for the holiday shopping season last year, but this year things are definitely different, according to Bawden. "I think people are more cautious, they're paying off debt."

At T.C. West, a gift store in Castle Dale, Koni Liston said she has not only seen a change in shopping habits this holiday season, but a change since the terrorist attacks of September 11. "It's affecting us and if it's hurting a little business like ours I can only imagine what it's doing to bigger businesses," she said.

Other businesses, however, seem to be holding their own this holiday season. Mike Jones of Jones Ace Hardware and Radio Shack said the crucial day after Thanksgiving shopping day was a busy one for both Radio Shack and Jones Ace Hardware.

"We did four times the normal day at Radio Shack the day after Thanksgiving," he said. Jones said that Ace Hardware saw double the normal day of business the day after Thanksgiving.

At Magnuson Lumber the day of the terrorist attack and the first few days afterward were slow, but since then things have returned to normal, perhaps even a little better. "So far this year we're better than average. The first three days after Sept. 11 were slow, but since then it's been pretty good," said Kevin Jensen of Magnuson.

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