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Wilson holiday shoppers buck trend
Dec 27, 2012 4:00 pm
Wilson County holiday shoppers seemed to buck the national trend this year.
According to a study released by Consumer Reports on Dec. 20, 132 million Americans had not yet wrapped up their holiday shopping, and 17 million of them planned to hold out until the last minute and finish on Christmas Eve.
At least one Wilson County retailer, however, noted the opposite.
“We had a lot of early shopping,” said Jackie Driver, manager at Lulu’s Clothing Co. in Lebanon. “We’ve had people talking the Christmas talk for a while.”
Walgreens on West Main Street in Lebanon saw quite a few last-minute shoppers, according to Jonathan Beadle, executive assistant at the store, but that Walgreens location was one of few retailers open 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Overall, the number of shoppers seemed to be about on par with last year’s holiday season, according to Crowell.
While this year’s holiday shopping cycle boasted an extra weekend, just due to the way the days fell between Thanksgiving and Christmas, several factors disrupted the long shopping season.
Economic worries about the fiscal cliff and large numbers of customers and retailers affected by Hurricane Sandy have seemed to put a dent in sales numbers. In the weeks leading into Christmas, sales numbers were trending upward, and sales jumped 15.1 percent for the week ending Dec. 15 compared to the period ending Dec. 8. That figure, however, was down from a 16.4 percent increase in retail sales during the same period in 2011.
Beadle said while his store saw a bustling business over Christmas – basically clearing out shelves – he still saw some effects from the turbulent economy.
“[Shoppers] weren’t just shopping,” said Beadle, “they were coming in looking for bargains.”
Shoppers seemed more concerned with stretching their shopping dollars than in previous years, and retailers seemed more than accommodating, offering discounts of up to 80 percent off in some cases.
Despite deep discounts and cautious shoppers, though, the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales figures would increase 4.1 percent over the same period in 2011.
The final verdict will have to wait, though, as shoppers make their returns and exchanges and final sales figures from retailers begin to trickle out over the next couple months.