Local retailers agree that the week before Christmas was slow, but the weekend made up for it, and they expect stores to remain busy as the new year begins.
Matt Ludemann, manager of Golden Triangle Mall, said he expects people to be out shopping for winter clearance items and buying things they need for the second half of the school year.
“I think we’ll be busy pretty much through the first week in January, until the kids go back to school and the parents go back to work,” he said.
Ludemann said he’s received positive feedback from mall retailers about sales since Thanksgiving.
The National Retail Federation projected that sales would be up 4.1 percent from last year.
It has not released the final numbers for the season because the season goes through the end of December.
Ludemann said traffic to the mall wasn’t as impressive the week before Christmas as it was last weekend. He said he thinks it has to do with the fact that students didn’t get out of school for the holiday until Dec. 21.
John Vinson, general manager of the Super Target on Loop 288, agreed that the late school release slowed traffic until the four days leading up to Christmas.
“Since Friday [Dec. 21], it was open the doors and get out of the way,” Vinson said.
December was a little slow until then, he said.
Despite icy weather earlier this week, retailers said customers came out to use their gift cards and exchange and return items.
On Wednesday, Vinson said the amount of traffic to the store the day after Christmas indicates that the next couple of weeks could be busy.
The Walmart on Loop 288 also saw a lot of business Wednesday after the ice began to melt.
Tony Quintero, the store manager, said people were in to shop for clearance items.
“Normally, this week will be filled with returns and exchanges,” he said.
Business at Walmart, like the mall and Target, was slower the week before Christmas, he said.
“As soon as the weekend hit, we gained it all back,” Quintero said.
He expects January to be a strong month because people want to see the new merchandise that will come out in the new year, he said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.