November 30, 2012

Sales are up: Local merchants expect good season

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The 2012 holiday shopping season got off to a remarkable start and is expected to continue throughout the Christmas season.

Local stores in the area report good sales from the Black Friday sales, which was extended this year to begin on Thanksgiving night. Most retail stores in the area offered sales throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

London Walmart store manager, Glen Bolton said Walmart took in more money and served more customers than last year’s day after Thanksgiving shopping sprees.

“We had our main sale from 8  to 10 (p.m.) on Thanksgiving night,” Bolton said. “We had around 5,000 people then. When the sales started at 5 a.m. on Friday, we really didn’t have that many people.”

Bolton added the evening sales were more profitable for Walmart than the early Friday morning sales of past years.

“We had a more diverse customer base (for the evening sales) than before,” he added. “We had a really good turnout and I think it was better organized.”

While many stores close and re-open earlier than usual for the ‘official’ kickoff of Christmas shopping season, Walmart remains open 24 hours per day, with the exception of Christmas Day.

“We don’t close but we had people coming and getting in line for the electronics (for the 8 p.m. sale) at 2 o’clock,” Bolton said.

While some Facebook pictures reflected long lines at Kmart’s 8 p.m. sale, store managers said they could not comment on the sales. Their corporate office could not be reached.

Ditto for Burke’s Outlet, as calls to the corporate office were not returned by press time.

However, shoppers in London got an extra treat over the shopping weekend.  Small Business Saturday took place in downtown London to encourage residents to shop locally this holiday season.

Kelley Stansbury with Posh Boutique said sales went very well for her business during Saturday’s event.

“I was really pleased,” she said. “It went very well. I guess I had about 100 people in.”

In fact, Stansbury was so pleased with the turnout that she plans to participate with Small Business Saturday more often, primarily due to the extended publicity by London Downtown.

While many stores are promising other sales throughout the Christmas shopping season, Stansbury is another such merchant.

I’m planning on having other sales,” she said.  “I wish more people would shop locally than with some big retail chain.  We have such a variety of things here -- children’s clothes, ladies’ and mens’ clothing, some really unique shops.

“We’ve got it all,” she said.