Shoppers start early on holiday shopping, city hopes for boost in revenue

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Black Friday is still a couple weeks away, but stores say their holiday shopping season is already underway.

Even though 190,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, retailers expect sales to be higher this year than last.

Store managers say their registers have had an early holiday jingle, as shoppers are already hitting up and marking off their Christmas lists.

Hannah Easom, who spent the day looking for those early sales says, "My friend and I just were discussing today, how busy the stores already are."

And C.L. Moulton, Assistant Manager for Eagle Eye Outfitters says he's also noticed more of that early bird foot traffic.

Moulton said, "This week, we've noticed people are coming out and doing a lot of scouting.  They're picking out what they want, and we're had a lot of children coming in a making lists."

Since Wednesday was Veterans' Day, school was out for most area students, so those kids came along with their parents, to scope out the deals.

Jack Dean, who's three children came shopping with him, said, "We're on a little bit more of a budget this year, so we are going to be looking for more deals."

And even though stores saw a lull in sales leading up to the shopping season, they expect that to change.

Moulton said, "We're seeing lots of people coming in and picking out news styles and colors because they all want something new.  All the kids do anyway, so we think we're going to do a little better this year."

And that boost in sales, would be good news for retailers and the city.

Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said, "This year our sales tax revenues went way down, so it's been a great concern of ours."

But Mayor Schmitz says, he's encouraged because the latest figures show a smaller decline.

"Maybe the sales will pick up, and we'll be back at where we need to be," he said.

Hoping the city and it's retailers will be well on their way, to being out of the red before Black Friday arrives.

Many chain stores have already extended their hours and began offering their Black Friday "door buster" deals.

Also, retailers like K-Mart, Sears, TJ MAXX and Toys R US are among those adding back their layaway program this season.

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