Retailers expect last-minute boost

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With Christmas just days away, Chris Blumenshine hasn’t finished his holiday shopping.

“I have never been a fan of the shopping experience,” he said. “I typically go and finish Christmas Eve and, typically, everything decent is out of stock. I’ll learn one day, maybe.”

Unlike Blumenshine, nearly 57 percent of Americans completed their holiday shopping during the first two weeks in December, according to the latest survey by the National Retail Federation, a retail trade group.

Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a prepared statement that retailers will do their best to get customers into their stores and “pull in those final dollars with unique and creative promotions.”

Matt Ludemann, manager of Golden Triangle Mall, said the December shopping season helps business and it makes a big difference. Some stores have extended hours, which has helped shoppers.

“It is more than the usual, and some anchor stores like Macy’s are staying open all weekend, keeping themselves available for them,” Ludemann said.

He said that, overall, the shopping season has been going well at the mall.

“This week has been slower because kids are still in school,” Ludemann said. “But from 2 p.m. today [Friday] to 6 p.m. Monday, we expect to be extremely busy.”

John Vinson, general manager of the Super Target on Loop 288 and Brinker Road, agreed with Ludemann that a lot more shopping will take place once the kids get out of school.

“I think it is going to be crazy, with school getting out late this year, there will be more traffic Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

Target has been running ads and doing a lot more online to attract more customers, Vinson said.

The store will close Christmas Day but will open until late hours throughout the weekend from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday.

After Christmas, Vinson said he expects to see a lot of people redeem gift cards.

The National Retail Federation said gifts cards continue to be popular among consumers, with 4 in 10 people getting them.

Daniel Morales, director of communications and community relations for Wal-Mart, said in an e-mail that Christmas is the company’s best shopping season of the year.

Morales said that although most Walmart stores are open 24 hours a day, the stores will close at 8 p.m. Monday and reopen at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The International Council of Shopping Centers forecast a 3 percent increase in holiday sales nationally from November through December, according to its 2012 Holiday Watch report.

Kendra Hinderland, state director of the International Council of Shopping Centers, said Texas retail is doing better than other states.

“In general sales, and in terms of retail expansions and new store openings, Texas is leading the country at this point in time,” Hinderland said.

She said that with consumer confidence at a high of almost 12 percent in the state, more people are doing more shopping.

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is kramirez@dentonrc.com.


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