RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – Despite concerns about inflation and the economy, Americans are not skimping on a highlight of many holiday gatherings this season: the Christmas tree.
Tree costs have risen at retailers ranging from Home Depot and Lowes to small-town stores, yet consumers continue to buy them.
Some Christmas tree producers fretted over external variables expensive fuel, fertilizer and labor prices only to realize that festive greenery is relatively inflation-proof, even as Americans cut back on retail spending last month.
In South Portland, Maine, an average-size tree from the local Rotary Club’s Christmas trees costs $70, which is $5 higher than previous year.
A survey of 55 of the nation’s largest Christmas tree wholesalers indicated virtually all of them intended to raise prices, with most wholesale cost increases in the 5% to 15% range but with some increases reaching 21% or more, according to the Real Christmas Tree Board in Howell, Michigan, which conducts marketing and research for the industry.
Despite price rises, another poll found that 85% of consumers believe Christmas trees are worthwhile, according to the board.
That shows a tree whether real or artificial is an essential component of the holiday custom, along with Christmas presents, cards and songs, and ugly sweaters.
Like different traditions, the sorts of trees and local market conditions might vary.
In the end, approximately 21 million live Christmas trees will be sold by the time customers wrap up purchases over the last days leading up to Christmas Day, placing sales on line with last year’s great performance, according to Jill Sidebottom of the National Christmas Tree Association.
“It wouldn’t really be Christmas without a tree,” said Susan Adams, of South Portland, who’s making do with a smaller tree this year — for the same cost as last year’s bigger tree.
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