Retailers Expect Big Holiday Season - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/26/04

Retailers Expect Big Holiday Season

Shoppers hit Oglethorpe Mall. Shoppers hit Oglethorpe Mall.
The day after Thanksgiving means only one thing to many people. It's time to shop. All the shopping center parking lots on Savannah's south side are packed and so are the stores.

This is the day retailers look forward to all year. They hope you shop till you drop and spend, spend, spend.

"This is the biggest day we have all year, this is what we gear up for," said David Hardee with Bass Pro Shops. "We've been gearing up for 30 days now and it's very very important to all the retailers."

Today, every cash register at Bass Pro was open for business. "The business was slow to start, I think the weather kept some people in and I think with Target open, it took away some of the initial crowd," said Hardee. "But right now it's back to where it was this time last year."

They even brought in Boy Scouts to help bag the goods and keep the lines moving.

Our next stop, Best Buy. Electronics are always hot Christmas items.

"The $500 laptop was gone in 30 minutes, the $200 desktop was gone in about an hour, the $30 MP3 player was gone in about ten minutes, so there's a lot of things that are gone, but we'll replenish a lot of stuff," said the store's Andrew Valles.

Across the street at Oglethorpe Mall, all the stores seemed to be doing good business. Those who had had time to stop and do some of the register checks told us that sales are way up from last year. While this has been a very big day for local retailers, many of them hope it's a trend that will continue throughout the holiday shopping season.

"We expect it to be a very, very good season," said Phil McConnell with Oglethorpe Mall. "I think national retail is expecting four to five percent, and I think we'll equal that with no problem."

Back at Best Buy, Valles told us, "We were doing slow at the beginning of the month, but it has really picked up towards the end, gaining some momentum and I can see it carrying through the holiday season."

And Bass Pro Shops doesn't just want to equal last year's sales, they want to top it. "We are on target right now with where we were last year at this time, looking for five to ten percent increase over last year."

With the way things looked today, that likely will not be a problem.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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