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Valley’s Latino consumers appear to buck national economic slowdown

Valley’s Latino consumers appear to buck national economic slowdown

It's a week till Christmas, and Itzel Garcia is looking to buy a gift for her daughter.

Armed with a gift card, she decides for a dress at Union Gap's Macy's store. The 19-year-old Garcia says that though there's a recession, she still feels she has to buy gifts for her friends and relatives.

"I guess you still need to buy, you still need to shop around," says Garcia. "You feel so bad not to get people stuff. You just manage around and try to go for the sale."

Garcia is just one of the Yakima Valley's countless Latinos who are braving the recession and turning out in droves to local small businesses and national stores like Wal-Mart, Sears, Target and Macy's to do their Christmas shopping.

There's no breakdown of sales for Latinos, but anecdotal evidence suggests that local Latinos -- who make up more than 40 percent of the Valley's population -- account for a growing portion of the holiday season's sales. Jason Ostrer, Macy's store manager, says the Union Mall store did better than last year during the busy day after Thanksgiving, or what merchants call Black Friday.

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