Local holiday sales off to good start

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday and weekend sales hold promise of a good Christmas retail shopping season locally, according to a random sampling of several merchants conducted early this week. This mirrors the retail climate being reported nationally.

Saturday’s edition of The Post-Searchlight cited positive responses from Belk Manager Threasa Hall and from Walmart as to Black Friday sales in those respective stores.

Belk had hundreds of eager shoppers waiting for the doors to open at 3 a.m. on Friday and the local store quickly ran out of some sale items, such as luggage and TVs.

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Walmart shoppers were on hand as well, when Black Friday sales kicked off at midnight to get reduced priced electronics and toys.

Some locally owned stores also reported good sales figures.

Tom Reeves, co-owner of Reeves Linens and Gifts, said Black Friday was “very good — well over last year’s Black Friday by about 25 percent.” He feels the increase in sales is due to their inventory, giving special credit to the Brighton line — jewelry, watches, purses, belts, shoes, sunglasses and travel pieces — that are always big sellers.

Another company reporting a large increase in sales was Ronnie Godwin of Godwin’s Jewelers, who said, “It was a little better than last year — up 28 percent.” His biggest sales came from Chamilia beads, the bridal line of diamonds, which has actually carried them all year, and Tag Heuer watches. He said diamond earrings areu very hot sellers this year.

Banks Miller, co-owner of Southern Trading, said their sales were up about 10 percent over last year, with the Columbia and Under Armour clothing lines among the big attractions. The garden center is also a big draw, as is the collegiate room. New, popular items this year are decorated fire pots that can be used inside or out.

Assistant manager Steve Knight at the local Sears store said they had really good specials on high-end products for Black Friday, with washers, dryers, refrigerators and TV’s being the best sellers. He said LED-TV’s are in the biggest demand now with pricing better than it has been in prior years. Tools continue to be good selling gifts, and they were priced half-off during the sale.

The local Stones Store is managed by David White who reported they did not have special sales designated for Black Friday, but that they had started all their December sales early. They had 10 percent off on Georgia boots, which went very well.

He noticed an increased sale of feed and corn by hunters who spent the weekend pursuing that sport, and also good sales on hunting stands and feeders. To sum it up, White said they saw a lot of traffic and he estimates they were 10 percent over the same time frame last year. He believes that in this economy people are buying more “usable” items and it is his hope shoppers will continue to stay local and support locally owned businesses.