By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The holiday shopping rush extended at least another day on Wednesday, with after-Christmas shoppers hitting stores early.
Armed with cash and gift cards, and scouring for sales, shoppers like Patricia Cowling made the rounds at several stores.
“I went to Walmart first, the Kohl’s, then the mall and a few more stores,” she said. “I had to make two exchanges, but now I’m out to get a few things I wasn’t able to get before Christmas.”
While electronics were popular as always, more practical gifts also wound up on shopping lists, according to retail analysts.
Shoes were a hot item, and Shoe Country Manager Corey Chunn said business was brisk before and after Christmas.
The West Main Shopping Center store had several customers browsing and buying early Wednesday, and Chunn said sales prices were just one reason why. With the new year less than a week away, athletic shoes are being snapped up by consumers resolving to get in shape.
“We’ve got 1,000 pairs of shoes on sale, so we’re ready for them,” Chunn said.
Furniture sales also picked up during the holidays.
Lisa Hawkins, owner of Room To Room, said she couldn’t be happier.
“We’ve had a great Christmas season,” she said. “We’re up for the year, and in this economy, that’s a good thing.”
At Hobby Lobby, Margaret Miles was thankful, too.
She and her family lost their house to a fire last year and weren’t able to spend Christmas together. On Wednesday, she had a new 7 1/2-foot-tree in her cart.
“I wanted to come out here last year, but I was sick,” she said. “We’ve moved into a new house, and now we’ll have a tree to go with it next year.”
Robin Curbow, the store manager at Hobby Lobby, also said holiday sales were good. The sooner Christmas items are moved, the better, she said.
“I’ve got a store room full of spring merchandise ready to come out. … and we’ve got Valentine’s Day we need to put out, too,” she said.
Cowling also had Hobby Lobby on her list.
“I probably don’t need anything, but there’s plenty I want,” she said.
Retailers hope there are more shoppers like her, since overall holiday sales are weaker than expected so far.