Retailers wait for end to slow season

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2002

The end of the highly-launded Christmas shopping season is approaching, but the sales for some area retailers have been mediocre.

He added that Monday was a good day for sales, but Thursday was a bit slow because of the rainy weather.

However, Bearden added that there was still one more weekend and two days next week until Christmas.

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He attributed the slight downturn to the lack of foot traffic in the area along with the slow economy. He also said that this shopping season had been predicted to be less than average.

He said that even though last year’s figures were a little bit better than this year’s, he still saw an increase in November and added that December has been good enough.

Brandi Washburn, sales manager at McRae’s, agreed with Bearden.

However, she added that Selma is a last minute town. Washburn said that business is steady starting from Thanksgiving, but really picks up the week before Christmas.

Washburn also thought that the economy was affecting business this year, and that, along with a job market that wasn’t stable, was slowing business everywhere.

Roger Butler, co-owner of Butler Truax Jewelers, said that he thought business was doing well.

He added that this year Thanksgiving fell late in the month whereas last year it came six days earlier. That meant, Butler said, that people started shopping six days earlier last year.

The last time Thanksgiving fell this late, Butler added, was in 1996. When this year and 1996 are compared, Butler said, he felt that things were quite good.

Butler said that there was some negative economic news in the media recently, and when that happens people put off their shopping until later in the season.

Butler also said that jewelers do 30 percent of their business from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1, and that the 3 to 4 days before Christmas can see sales that equal 85 to 90 percent of sales for the entire month of January.

Butler attributed the good business year to his employees and the low overhead.

Todd Stewart, the president of Moore Stewart Ford, said that business hasn’t been either bad or good this holiday season.

Stewart said that Christmas is a slow time for car sales because most people use their money to buy gifts instead of cars.

Most people, Stewart added, wait until tax return time to make a car purchase. He said people start coming in around Jan. 15 which is when the tax returns start coming in.

Once a warm day hits in February, Stewart said, people will start to drive around and begin checking out the dealerships.

Stewart said that he didn’t expect a big change in sales right before Christmas.