Holiday shopping starts off strong

Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 12:53pm

The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is well underway at malls and shopping centers around town.

"We've been wrapping Christmas presents since October 1, so that started really early this year," said Chris Yearwood, co-owner of Caspiana Gift & Clothing on Youree Drive.  Yearwood, who owns the small Shreveport Boutique with his mother and sister, told us that the holiday shopping started off early, but continues to pick up as Christmas nears.  "As we got closer into Thanksgiving, of course, things really picked up.  Thanksgiving weekend was incredible as it was all over town, and then it's just been non-stop every since."

Troy Bohm, manager of the Old Farmer's Almanac General Store at Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City, has also seen the rush of holiday shoppers in his store.  "Since the beginning of the holiday season, we've actually picked up traffic a lot versus (November)," Bohm said.

With the steady flow of holiday shoppers out and about, both stores say that they are seeing a specific trend in how people choose to pay for their purchases.  Bohm and Yearwood both told us that they have had less credit card transactions and more transactions with cash.  "We actually have seen a lot more cash come through, which means sales are a little bit down, but still making good profit here," Bohm explained about the General Store's transactions.  Yearwood said that he does not think that shoppers are buying less, but he has seen a difference in the dollar amount that people spend.  Shoppers will purchase "not as many high ticket items, but more of the more moderate-priced items," Yearwood told us.

Stores like Caspiana Gift & Clothing and the Old Farmer's Almanac General Store are noticing that their numbers are significantly higher compared to last year's holiday shopping period.  "Actually, we were expecting a little bit more this year, but versus last year, we're still doing fairly well.  We're still above last year," Bohm told us.  Yearwood echoed that statement telling us that "traffic seems to be really just steady for the holidays and a bit more than I think we saw last year."

With the holiday shopping period already looking like a success, stores just hope that this holiday shopping traffic does not slow down.  "They're changing their spending habits a little bit.  (We are) just making that slight adjustment, but they're still out spending, and the economy is still moving for us locally.  And I feel very encouraged about that," Yearwood told us about his holiday outlook.  "This was the best November we've ever had, so hopefully in December we'll reflect the same."


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