Season of hope begins for retailers

Merchants optimistic that people want to spend again

Mike Chariton, owner of Planet Wines at 420 Main St., isn’t sure what to expect from customers this holiday season. But he suspects they’re tired of penny-pinching.

“My hope is that after a year of belt-tightening and caution, consumers will allow themselves to spend and splurge,” he said.

Between offering bits of advice to customers Friday afternoon, Chariton shared the importance of Black Friday weekend and the month of December to his business.

“I don’t think I can overstate how much I’m counting on the holiday season,” he said.

Most retailers, especially larger chains, receive about 40 percent of their annual profits from sales made between Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Cheryl Power, store manager for Kohl’s Department Store, 636 Market St.

But Black Friday, so named because the day’s sales supposedly bring stores above debt level and “into the black,” isn’t the be-all, end-all sales day during the holiday season.

“It’s one of our 13 big days between now and Christmas with promotions,” Power said.

Rea Limited owner Bobie Mizushima opened her store in Mesa Mall in the second week of November and plans to stay open through the end of January, selling Zipfy sleds and Loki outdoor gear. She said big-box stores with early open times and big discounts probably benefit most from Black Friday. Retailers her size are more likely to see sales closer to Christmas, she said.

“I think we’re anticipating more people getting ideas (for gifts) on Black Friday,” she said.

Even Black Friday browsers aren’t a bad thing, said Bruce Benge, who owns Benge’s Shoe Store at 514 Main St.

“It gets people in a buying mode. It brings consumerism back,” he said.

Although Benge’s didn’t have any deals specific to Black Friday, Benge said December is his biggest sales month of the year, and although the holiday season isn’t “make or break” for him, he’s always glad to see a customer.

Main Street businesses are especially hoping December will be a good sales month, because construction downtown in January will block off downtown street traffic, said Ivy Parnasius, owner of Pollux Clothing Co., 321 Main St.

Retailers aren’t just offering big deals on the biggest Friday of the year. Some stores will keep specials going throughout this weekend. For example:

Herberger’s at Mesa Mall is continuing its Black Friday door-buster deals today and adding a few more discounts.

Old Navy, 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50, will offer sales on different items today and Sunday.

Gymboree at Mesa Mall will offer 60 percent off all items in the store Saturday and Sunday.

Big Lots, 2401 North Ave., has deals through 11 a.m. today.

Safeway, Albertsons and City Market grocery stores are also offering various deals related to their gift-card offerings through the weekend.

Rite Aid, Office Depot, Walgreens, Office Max and other stores will also continue sales today.


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