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      'Tis the shopping season? How local stores are faring

      The month surrounding Christmas is often referred to as the season for shopping and gift giving. The National Retail Federation is expecting holiday sales to grow 4.1 percent but according to two local business, that forecast isn't coming their way.

      Just last month hundreds of shoppers flooded big box stores like Target in search of doorbuster deals Thanksgiving Day. A few miles away at AVAC in Myrtle Beach, owner Keith Ferrell says the kickoff to the holiday shopping season wasn't what he's seen in the past.

      "We've been here about 23 years and with the heavy promoting of cyber sales and big box stores and being inundated with TV ads and what not, the little guy tends to get left out sometimes," Ferrell explained.

      "We don't have the deep pockets that these other big box stores, we're certainly not going to be able to compete with them on the advertising level but competing with them on a price level is absolutely no problem."

      He added business isn't quite what he expected this year and other independent stores in the Southeast have echoed the same sentiments.

      "You know talking to my manufacturing reps. They're all kind of a little down this year. Things just aren't what they used to be. Our retail, this entire environment is changing. It's evolving into something different," said Ferrell. "It's gotten tougher lately because the internet is a big player in all this. Quite frankly a lot of stores like me, a lot of stores like the big box stores have become showrooms for the internet.

      At Barefoot Landing, Barbara McCahill owns Purpleologist. Massive crowds of shoppers aren't flooding the purple themed store. McCahill said sales are on track compared to last year but, "I get calls oh you must we really really swamped since it's Christmas and absolutely it's just the opposite. We have very little traffic. It's heartbreaking."

      She thinks Superstorm Sandy may have impacted sales as well.

      Both retailers hope with Christmas just a week away, more shoppers will stop by their stores.

      It's not all bad news. Abe Safa with accessory store Bijuju said sales are up 20 percent this month compared to last year.

      "We are having a great holiday season because we have been really in tune with what people want. There is a new economy now where consumers want value in every purchase."