Ringing in the season

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 26, 2006

Orderly crowds anxious to bag bargains in electronics and toys turned out in force early Friday morning, the biggest shopping day of the year. While some local shoppers may have headed to Montgomery for their holiday buys, many opted to spend the morning making cash registers ring in the Camellia City.

At Greenville's Super Wal-Mart, Store Manager Bill McCrary said the store's 5 a.m. kickoff for its door buster specials went &#8220very smoothly.”

&#8220There were lots of people out this morning. The customers were very pleasant and very understanding, which makes the day better for all of us, ” McCrary said.

&#8220Secret buys,” advertised only online by the store, helped draw many customers through Wal-Mart's doors.

&#8220We had a 52” RCA projection TV for just $474 (advertised online). We had several in stock and they went very right away,” McCrary said.

Other types of televisions, portable DVD players, X-Box 360 and Nintendo concoles were also hot items for Wal-Mart Friday morning, along with DVDs and video games.

&#8220Overall, I would say TVs and toys were the biggest items of the morning,” McCrary said.

The Wal-Mart manager said the day's sunny, mild weather was an asset for Black Friday.

&#8220It's been absolutely beautiful today and that helped get people out. It's supposed to be nice right on through the weekend, which we are anticipating being a pretty busy one.”

At the Greenville Fred's, Manager Randy Beeson said his morning had been a good one.

&#8220I'm a little shocked. Looking over things nationwide, some retailers are down as much as 40 percent. Here, it looks like we'll have a small increase. Nothing to shout from the rooftops about, but it is an increase,” Beeson said.

Fred's opened their doors at 15 minutes until 5 a.m. &#8220We started with only five cars in the parking lot, but within 10 minutes there were at least 30 cars out there. We had almost 100 customers visit us before 6 a.m.,” Beeson said. The store offered a variety of &#8220Early Bird” specials from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

By 1 p.m. Friday, the store manager said 1100 customers had passed through the checkout stands at Fred's.

&#8220We anticipate around 2,000 customers for the day.”

While the volume of customers seems to be down slightly, Beeson said each Fred's customer is spending more on Black Friday in 2006.

&#8220Our customers are spending about $4 more per person than last year. So even though the volume is down a little, we are coming out ahead.”

Electronics were a big draw during Fred's early bird specials, Beeson said, along with toys and basic fleece wear.

&#8220One of the things I think people appreciate about Fred's is the fact you can come on in, find what you want and get checked out, and still have time to go shopping for specials at other stores.”

One source of disappointment this year, Beeson said, was a drop in sales in Fred's Trim-A-Tree and Trim-A-Home departments.

&#8220I don't know if people have as many decorations as they need, or what's going on, but we didn't sell as much in our decorations as we thought we would.”

The store manager expects a good weekend at his store, especially if the hometown team can win another round in the playoffs.

&#8220We're going have good weather. If the Greenville Tigers win again tonight, I reckon folks are going to be very happy and in a shopping mood,” Beeson laughed.