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DENVER-Mayor Wellington Webb wants residents to get off the Internet and spend their money in brick-and-mortar stores in Denver. “We need to support our local merchants and out-of-state on-line sales are taking a big bite out of their profits as well as our local tax revenues,” he says.

“Every time you spend money shopping on the Internet, you are depriving local merchants of a sale and you are depriving your local municipalities of the necessary tax revenues to provide critical city services,” he adds. “The fact of the matter is that we have fantastic retail stores and our local merchants offer great bargains, more convenient return policies and overall, more choice and flexibility in terms of products, sizes and customer service.”

Besides, Webb says, shopping in the city is more fun than cruising the Internet.

“It seems so much more appropriate during the holidays to let your children enjoy the skating rink at Cherry Creek while you browse the books at the Tattered Cover (bookstore) or shop at the Cherry Creek Mall,” he notes. “You can take in the lights on the 16th Street Mall on your way to Larimer Square or the Chriskindl Market at the Downtown Pavilions.”

.According to the National Retail Federation, consumers on average will spend about $656 during the holidays on gifts, decorations, food and other items. That’s up from $632 last year. However, on-line sales are estimated to increase by up to 25% over the 2001 holiday season while traditional stores are expected to be up only 2% over last year.

Denver is offering free parking Downtown after 6 p.m. and all day Dec. 23 and 24.

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