Businesses report increase in holiday shopping

Published 3:03 pm Friday, December 21, 2012

Angel Payton Knight purchased some last minute gifts at Cato on Friday to give for Christmas. Payton Knight said she purchased a lot of her gifts from Cato due to her love of the store and the wonderful customer service she receives when shopping. "I shop at this store all of the time," Payton Knight said. "The service and workers are great. They are always friendly and helpful and cheer you up when you are feeling down." Payton Knight said she stopped in the store to give the employees Christmas gifts for being so nice to her and decided to pick up a few more gifts along the way. Cato manger Shamoira Crow said Payton Knight is one of the most loyal customers and always loves seeing her come in the store. "She is always so nice to those of us who work here," Crow said. "We enjoy her a lot."

Chilton County businesses saw an increase in shoppers this Christmas season.

Hibbett Sporting Goods store manager Doug Beckwith said local sales at the store picked up for the season compared to previous years.

“I know this year we saw a lot more people coming in to buy things for Christmas,” Beckwith said. “A lot of our promotions were geared toward things we knew people would be interested in buying, such as college football apparel and sales on tennis shoes.”

Beckwith said the biggest competitors against local retailers are online shoppers who purchase things without having to deal with throngs of people.

“I think a lot of people appreciate the convenience online shopping provides but a lot of the sales we had required shoppers to come into the stores,” Beckwith said. “Plus, you can’t buy things online when you wait until the last minute and we definitely had a lot of last-minute shoppers.”

Beckwith said the day after Thanksgiving is still the busiest shopping day for his business but the last few days leading up to the Christmas holiday closely compared.

“We had a few weekends recently where we were slammed,” Beckwith said. “People are definitely out and about which is a great thing to see.”

MorLyn’s in Clanton owner Ann Glasscock said her family owned business saw a tremendous increase in sales leading up to Christmas.

“We had the biggest day in sales history last week,” Glasscock said. “There were a lot of people out shopping for Christmas this year.”

Glasscock said she attributes the increase in sales to the fact that people have saved their money over a period of time due to tough economic times.

“I think a lot of people were hesitant to spend their money because they didn’t know what was going to happen with the economy,” Glassock said. “Now, they are seeing that everything is going to be OK and they are starting to spend some of that money they saved.”

Glasscock said the most popular promotion her store ran leading up to Christmas was an incentive to get more men out shopping.

If anyone purchased $2,500, they would get a free rifle from City Pawn in Thorsby.

“It was the most popular thing we have ever done,” Glasscock said. “It is funny how a rifle will get men interested in purchasing jewelry.”

Glasscock said due to the success of the promotion her store is considering running the promotion until January.