Holiday shoppers in buying mood

Ah, the holidays. The eggnog, the family gatherings — the shopping.

Since Black Friday, San Francisco shoppers have been quick to snatch up some of the season’s hottest items — and the trend seems to shift into two categories: jewelry and electronics.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that retail sales topped $31.7 billion in December 2005, with jewelry stores experiencing a 174 percent sales hike and electronics and computers a 54 percent sales increase — and it seems as though they might be doing it again.

Deniz Anders, a spokeswoman for Nordstrom, reported that the San Francisco Centre’s Michele brand watches, ranging in price from $500 to $2,900, are flying off the shelves. Anything Juicy Couture is also a sought-after item, including the $35 charm bracelet that can be adorned with $45 charms. Surprising? Not as much as the return of Australian Ugg boots — yep, they’re back. At $99 a pop, they are one of Nordstrom’s best sellers.

Hearsay at Macy’s Union Square is that cashmere sweaters for men and women that range in price from $49 to $89 are a trend, according to regional director of stores Beckie Canfield. Also well-liked are $38 Philosophy bath treat gift sets in scents such as “gingerbread man” and “candy cane,” and, of course, $1,595 to $2,995 one-carat diamond stud earrings.

At running and sport specialists Metro Sport on Filbert Street, everything iPod is all the rage. In particular, store salesman Les Ong said Nike+ clothing, ranging in price from $40 to $125, is popular with shoppers because it is equipped with special pockets to store an iPod nano and holes for headphone wires.

For the kiddies, Ed Ong of Target in Colma said the Tickle Me Elmo 10-year anniversary doll, which rolls around and laughs when tickled, is making a comeback. Stampeding parents first sought the original doll in 1996, and for $60 a pop, Elmo is anything but a cheap thrill.

Ong also reports that the $600 PlayStation 3 is still in high demand since its Nov. 17 debut, but with Sony regulating the allocation of the beloved console, buying one for someone on your Christmas list has been virtually impossible.

But it’s not just about Christmas gifts. Jewish T-shirts at Union Street boutique Trendy Moda are consistently sold out the past couple of weeks, as owner Maryanne Feerer says the $35 Hebrew Heart T-shirts are hot Hanukkah gifts.

If you’re thinking more along the lines of housewares, Lindsay Mock of Williams-Sonoma says San Francisco shoppers are particularly fond of the $34 Railway Cake Pan that can bake an edible, three-dimensional nine-car train.

At Pot Pourri in Burlingame, Tea Forte’s unconventional pyramid-shape tea bags and accessories are selling like hotcakes. In flavors such as Flora and Earl Gray, the tea bags can set you back $5.95 for two or $22 for 20 — but they are ever-so-popular, according to store sales associate Heather Riggall.

eeconomides@examiner.com

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