‘Hot’ items bring out shoppers

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Note: This story is the fourth in a series.

Shoppers will take to the streets tomorrow during Black Friday eager to find great deals and burn off today’s Thanksgiving feast and some residents may be surprised to find that great deals are just around the corner.

Mike Ward, owner of Ward & Company in Andalusia, said many shoppers have been purchasing items to prepare for the rugged outdoor conditions of the winter.

“Our selection of North Face jackets have been great sellers so far this season,” he said. “We have also sold many of our Costa Del Mar sunglasses, which are perfect for reducing glare on the lake when fishing.”

Ward & Company has several sales available for budget-conscious shoppers this season. The women’s section now features 20 percent off Lucky Brand and It jeans and tops for the holiday season. Men will find a big selection of Polo and Lacoste clothing available at 20 percent off as marked. The store is closing out Brighton products with 50 to 70 percent off as marked on all handbags and 25 to 40 percent off jewelry as marked.

Levon Glisson of Andalusia Farmer’s Co-op said several items are available at great prices to help satisfy the wish list of the farmer or hunter who has everything.

“We typically sell lots of boots, Carhartt clothing, John Deere toys, Mr. Heater products and fish cookers,” Glisson said. “We have a special right now on all of our heaters. We have a catalog with many specials listed that customers can view in our store. We have several wildlife feeders. Nikon binoculars, range finders and scopes are also great gift items.”

According to the latest holiday poll, conducted among 1,003 adults between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, most consumers have yet to begin their shopping this season,

At the same time, the percentage of Americans planning to hit the malls on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is up over last year, and home electronics seem to top the list of popular items. According to the survey, 85 percent of Black Friday shoppers intend to buy televisions, DVD players, home-theater systems or other similar products. The number indicates a 15-percent increase over the percentage that planned to purchase similar items last year.

As of Nov. 2, only 38 percent of Americans had begun shopping for the holidays, a figure identical to last year, but 5 percent below the percentage in 2006. Only 3 percent of adults polled stated they would complete their shopping by the beginning of this month.

The holiday season is traditionally a time for relaxation and large family gatherings around the dining room table. The season often also creates a need for new furniture.

“Right now we are selling a good amount of dining room furniture and recliners,” June Simpson of Harold’s Furniture and Flooring said. “Through the end of the month we have 15 percent off all dining room furniture and recliners. Recliners are something Daddy wants and we have prices that are affordable for Daddy.”

Sandra Bickley, administrator of Cooperative Propane, said shoppers also look to purchase new appliances to accommodate holiday needs.

“Stoves are big during the holiday season,” she said. “Residents realize the stove they have will not handle the holiday cooking they need to get done. Many people replace their older stoves with new models during the holiday season.

“Refrigerators are also big sellers because people look for something new to store their Thanksgiving leftovers,” she added. “We have a great selection and great prices for all home appliance needs.”

Toys “R” Us recently released its hot list for holiday toys with Fisher-Price’s Elmo Live animated doll topping the list with a suggested retail price of $59.99. Barbie & the Diamond Castle Princess Alexa Doll was listed as second with an MRSP of $24.99 and the LeapFrog TAG Reading System came in third at $49.99.