Retailers optimistic about a strong holiday season - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Retailers optimistic about a strong holiday season

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –South Georgia retailers are heading into their most important time of the year with a little optimism. The sluggish economy has hurt holiday sales the last few years, but it seems consumers are finally gaining confidence and retailers are prepared for a good holiday season, perhaps the best one in years.

This year the national retail federation is predicting a 2.3% increase in holiday sales nationwide. That could make it the best year for retailers since 2006, and retailers we spoke with today are ready for a great season.

Black Friday is still a week away and Christmas won't be here for another month but the Albany mall was still bustling with shoppers today, shoppers like Curtis Thompson who got an early start on their holiday shopping.This holiday season, Thompson says he plans to dish out more cash. "The economy went bad and people started losing jobs but it seems like things are getting a little bit better," he said.

Like many others, he says the economy had an affect on his holiday spending the past few years, but it won't be as much of an issue this year.And after years of disappointing sales, retailers are more than ready for shoppers like Thompson and they hope to see more willing spenders this year.

"We are looking forward to a big surge in business from last year," said Jessica Thomas, sales associate at Envy.

Retailers are offering sales, promotions and even reaching out to customers on the Internet to boost sales.Jessica Thomas, a sales associate at Envy says they reach out to customers on facebook, so customers can browse through new inventory before stepping foot in the store.

"With the past couple of years with the way the economy has been its really nice to see it turning around," said Pete Dudley, Manager at Man Alive.

Dudley says Black Friday is their biggest day of the year, so customers can expect to see tons of sales at his store next week, some items even 75 percent off. "I'm anticipating it being a big holiday season probably better than its been in the last couple years," he said.

Some retailers say they are also getting in more inventory, to make up for all the sales they are anticipating in the coming weeks.

The National Retail Federation predicts the average American shopper will spend $689.00 in holiday-related shopping, up about $7.00 from last year.

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