Black Friday evolves to something bigger in Alabama for merchants

Black Friday shopping has impact on River Region economy

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lisa Morgan saw first hand the day after Black Friday just how strong the economy is. Twenty-five customers on that day alone made it a good day for La Robe Boutique on Mullbery Street.

“I think it was the marketing and the economy getting better," said Morgan, who manages the business.

It isn’t just getting better but booming in Alabama, according to the Alabama Retail Association, a trade group with 42,000 retailers as members.

“Alabama is near full employment, and people have more money to spend," said public relations director Nancy Dennis.

Morgan’s business is perhaps a snapshot of what’s going on far beyond Mulberry Street. A survey by American Express showed 122 million shoppers shopped at local businesses on Small Business Saturday, a 17 percent jump from last year on the same day, translating to more than $17 billion in sales for retailers.

”We feel those numbers will transcend to Alabama in terms of economic impact as a whole," said Jeremy Arthur, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.

The holiday shopping stretch from Black Friday to Cyber Monday has evolved in the last two years. It’s no longer just a Black Friday event.

“In talking with my retailers this morning, one thing they said the shoppers were earlier this year. It’s evolved from Black Friday that really begins after Halloween," said Dennis.

And there’s nothing scary about that as retailers cash in during this holiday season. La Robe Boutique is among them.

“We had to order more clothing,” said Morgan.

That same American Express survey showed that 51 percent of surveyed retailers said they will extend their store hours beyond the normal business hours.

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