Cold weather helps South Georgia Christmas economy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cold weather helps South Georgia Christmas economy

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The near record cold weather recently may actually have pumped up the economy.

South Georgia retailers say they're seeing a much more profitable Christmas season than in recent years.

Store managers say more customers are coming in, and those customers are spending more.

They give part of the credit to the weather.

Albany store managers say the countdown to Christmas is busier this year. Lots of South Georgians say they feel the Christmas spirit.  And retailers say it's not just better consumer confidence. The frigid weather is another big factor in that.

South Georgia stores are busy with shoppers like Stacy Coulter, who is more generous this Christmas than the last two years.

Coulter said "I was very conscious of saving the money. Not know what's going to go on with the economy. But things seem to be a little better."

Debra Pines says she is also buying more gifts this Christmas.

Pines said "I feel like I am. But I feel like I am buying smarter. Yeah."

Place on the Pointe gift shop sales are up. 

Place on the Pointe manager Honey Bolton said "We've had a fantastic Christmas."

J.C.Penney Manager Joseph Iles says money is being spent, and says the artic temperatures have helped.

 Iles said "I've got to believe right now all retailers are feeling pretty good, because the weather has been consistently cool."

Iles said South Georgians have gone to the stores for coats and gloves and scarves, and the Christmas spirit takes over while they are there..

 Bolton said "We love it when it gets cold. It just gets people in the spirit, and excited. A lot of times when it's cold outside we even open the door and just let the cold air come in."

Whether it's an improved economy or cold holiday spirit, shoppers say this Christmas they are enjoying shopping for family and friends more.

Pines said "It seems like everybody is a little more at ease and enjoying the Holidays. Yea, I'm having fun."

Coulter said "It's time to enjoy life again a little bit more."

And South Georgia retailers say that is good news for the economy.

I'm told some of the hottest items this year are pea coats, women's boots, and fine jewelry.

Most of the stores we talked with said they expect the good numbers to continue in the final 8 full shopping days until Christmas.

Because of the increased traffic, J-C Penney is staying open longer.  Starting Friday  they'll be open from 8 A-M until midnight, except for Sunday, right up to Christmas Eve.

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