Stores, shoppers, brace for Super Saturday’
– Procrastinators have little time left to finish Christmas buying.
By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Black Friday is long forgotten – today, it’s all about Super Saturday, which has been the biggest shopping day the past few years.
This year, shoppers have benefited from a long holiday selling season – 31 out of a maximum of 32 days – because of an early Thanksgiving.
But Northeast Mississippi retailers say their businesses also have benefited.
“This year is poised to be our best yet,” said The Mall at Barnes Crossing general manager Jeff Snyder. “Based on the preliminary numbers from November and what we’ve seen so far in December, our sales should be the best ever.”
A steady stream of shoppers has hit mall stores, which have seen a 12 percent increase in traffic so far this year.
Despite reports that deep discounting is hammering some retailers’ profits, the overall picture is still good, Snyder said.
“Discounting isn’t anything new,” he said. “I think it brings a little excitement to the customers, and it brings them into stores.”
In fact, the National Retail Federation has predicted a 5 percent increase in sales.
Procrastinators like Jakob Tinsley hope to find last-minute deals this weekend.
“I’m looking for something nice for my girlfriend, by I really haven’t had much time to shop,” he said, destined for a jewelry store in downtown Tupelo. “I’m going to find the best thing I can at the best price I can. But I know I gotta hurry.”
At Cowboy Maloney’s in the Gloster Creek Village, Sherry Wood was looking for a DVD player and home entertainment system to go with it.
“I’ve got a couple more gifts to look for, too,” she said.
Wood usually doesn’t wait so late to finish her shopping but, like Tinsley, she didn’t have much time to shop, either.
“It just depends on life,” she said with a smile. “You just get busy working sometimes.”
Cowboy Maloney’s general manager Robert Hughes anticipates a final rush today and Sunday, with customers taking advantage of the store’s extended hours -9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“The season’s been really good for us,” he said. “The big-screen TVs and flat screens have sold well, as have appliances,” he said. “We’ll have a lull and then we’ll have spurts of a lot of people. But we’re expecting that last big push.”
For those who can’t find that perfect gift, there’s always a gift card.
In a survey conducted last week, the International Council of Shopping Centers found that there are still plenty of procrastinators. It found that the percentage of shopping completed had fallen from 31 in 2004 to 21 this year. More than half of shoppers cited the “gift card comfort factor” and the remaining full weekend to buy as their reasons for waiting.
“That may be the easiest thing to do for the other people I need to buy for – just buy a handful of gift cards and let them buy what they want,” Tinsley said. “But I don’t think my girlfriend would think the same.”