Holiday shoppers flood Selma’s stores

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 25, 2007


While some Selma residents were sound asleep in their beds at 2 a.m. on Black Friday, others were getting ready for the biggest sales day of the year for retailers-one notorious for chaos and mayhem.

Some had to rise early to work.

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Others rose early to buy.

Mary Barton of Birmingham, found a bargain &045; a printer for $25. &8220;You can’t beat that, and I needed one.&8221;

Some area retailers said they saw less than stellar sales over the day.

Still others had more than enough business.

Wal-Mart was one of those.

Pech said the electronics department was one of the store’s busiest, and the area quickly sold out of specially priced computers, Sony Playstation 2 game consoles, portable DVD players, and a model of flat panel televisions.

After the madness of the morning, crowded aisles and long lines, Selma’s shopper seemed to ease back.

Melissa Roberts and Christina Espinola opted to bypass the bulk of the rush.

For Eddie Allen, his Black Friday shopping experience was uneventful. &8220;It’s been all right. I haven’t had any problems. But I just came to get some soap.&8221;

Selma wasn’t unlike other areas in the nation.

Many retailers nationwide had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.

“This is a really strong number. … You can’t have a good season unless it starts well,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, citing strength across all regions. “It’s very encouraging. When you look at September and October, shoppers weren’t in the stores.”

In a separate statement released Saturday, J.C. Penney Co. reported “strong performance across all merchandise categories.”

including fine jewelry, outerwear, and young men’s and children’s assortments.

But the department store chain cautioned, “while we are encouraged by our strong start, it is still early in the holiday season, and we are mindful of the headwinds consumers are facing.”

J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other major retailers are expected to report same-store results for November on Dec. 6. Same-store sales are those at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s strength.