Thirteen days and counting.
With Christmas fast approaching, area merchants that have been busy since Black Friday are now gearing up for the final stretch of holiday shopping.
Shoppers have exceeded expectations for the Shawnee Walmart, which is preparing for the final rush.
“As we roll into the last 13 days, we will have to work smart to keep shelves full and get inventory in front of customers,” said Chris Nelson, Shawnee Walmart manager. “Our goal is to have all registers open, if needed, the weekend before and on Christmas Eve.”
He said the store will close Christmas Eve and reopen at 6 a.m. Dec. 26.
Nelson said the Shawnee store has experienced a positive year, attributing that to being open on Thanksgiving.
“The results put our Shawnee store at second best in sales volume in the state for the second consecutive year,” Nelson said. “Sales have been strong since with volume increasing as we get closer to Christmas.”
Toys and electronics are popular item, he said, as are “Stompers,” which are children’s slippers that have ears that move children walk.
Shopping is also is full swing over at Kmart, where electronics and toys are hot sellers.
Derek Stevens, Kmart assistant manager, said it’s still too early to compare sales from this year to last, but said, “it’s been very busy.”
“It’s been real steady,” Stevens said, adding they’re seeing more and more customers very early and late at night now that they’re offering extended operating hours of 6 a.m. to midnight.
“We see a lot more traffic during those hours,” Stevens said, adding people are waiting outside when they open every morning.
While toys and electronics are obvious big sellers, Stevens said “gifty” items, including pajama sets and fragrances are moving fast. Overall, he said this has been a positive season.
“It’s been a good year for us,” he said.
At Hartoon Jewelers, Phil Hartoon said business has been good.
“It’s just about like last year,” he said, “but it’ll get busier.”
Hartoon, who normally closes on Sundays and Mondays, said they’re now open Monday through Saturday to accommodate last minute shoppers.
While diamond earrings and bracelets are popular Christmas items this year, Hartoon said the most popular items right now are wedding and anniversary ring sets.
“Many are getting married in December and January,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Hartoon said while business has been both steady and busy, he expects an influx of shoppers next week.
At Shawnee Mall, General Manager Scott Kingrey said Black Friday was a success for merchants there, especially the small shops, and it’s been busy ever since.
The vehicle traffic count is down somewhat at the mall compared to this time last year, Kingrey said, but it appears sales are up, so it’s been good in many ways.
“We get more time to work with customers,” he said.
Kingrey, who said Shawnee Mall is typically busy as a “night and weekends” mall, said extended hours are now available at many merchants and he believes shopping will increase as the calendar approaches Dec. 25.
“It is going to pick up,” Kingrey said, adding the cold snap helps people get into the Christmas — and shopping — spirit.