Most retailers are pleased with sales - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Most retailers are pleased with sales

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November 27, 2006

Albany -- South Georgia stores report strong early Christmas sales, showing the economy looks strong and consumers confident.   Store managers think most businesses will have bountiful holiday profits. 

JC Penney was one of the big national winners in Black Friday sales, reporting a strong increase in sales across the country the Friday after Thanksgiving.  The Albany Mall JC Penney manager says South Georgians were buying and called the weekend business outstanding.  

"It was above expectations in customer shopping. And above expectations on sales," manager Joseph Iles said.  "It was a tremendous day on Friday, and had an outstanding day on Saturday."

Most Albany department and big box stores we talked to agree-- their Thanksgiving holiday weekend sales increased over last year.  Iles said last year's announced closing of the Merck Plant in Albany put a cloud of doubt in South Georgia consumer's minds, so sales were not so good. 

But this year he says South Georgian's are ready to spend big for Christmas.  "I think the consumer right now is feeling good about the economy, feeling good about the sales, and price points on the sales right now. So I think that's the one thing driving the customer from the perspective of being able to shop and spend money."  

It's not only the big stores who enjoyed big sales over the weekend. The Carriage Trade gift shop said their business was up as well. "We've had a lot of traffic and it seems real good. Everybody has got a good attitude and seems to be shopping," said The Carriage Trade owner Phyllis Curry. 

This is called cyber Monday, as Internet sales sites promote their billions of dollars in sales.  But the Albany stores say they think there are enough consumers to go around.  "There are two types of shoppers that we have," Iles said. "You have shoppers that are on line shoppers for the convenience.  Then you have the shopper that wants to come out, hands on, get a chance to see the sales and be a part of the store environment."

Curry says customer service is still her biggest seller, and that is why her store will soon celebrate 40 years in business.  And she expects this to be a very profitable holiday season.

The one store not reporting strong Black Friday sales is  Wal-Mart.  The nation's number one retailer expects to report a decline in same-store sales for November.  

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