Merchants ready for last rush

Published 12:48 am Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last minute shoppers will take to the streets this morning in search of hot deals before most people brew their first pot of coffee. They should be aware, however, that many stores will close their doors early in observance of Christmas Eve.

Earl Preachers, manager of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Andalusia, said the store will close early Christmas Eve, remain closed for Christmas Day and reopen Friday at 6 a.m.

“We close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve to allow our employees to get home and be with their families for the holiday,” he said. “That is important to us.”

Preachers said Christmas Eve is historically one of the busiest days for Wal-Mart.

“It is a real busy day,” he said. “We do a lot of sales in a short period of time. A lot of people come into the store to pick up last minute items for Christmas dinner and to grab last minute gifts. We will hopefully have all registers open.”

Sonya Sanders, office manager of the Piggly Wiggly, formerly The Corner Market, said their doors will open at 6 a.m. Christmas Eve and will close at 7 p.m. to observe the holidays.

Sanders said business has been steadily increasing this week and she expects today to be their busiest day.

“We are actually doing really well considering the economy,” she said. “It has really picked up for Fridays and Saturdays. I believe (today) will be our busiest day. All the registers will be open. We will have extra baggers.”

Maggie Givens, manager of Goody’s in Andalusia, said many of the popular gift items have been sold out for quite some time, but several good gift items are still available for shoppers today.

“We have a good selection of gift items and apparel,” she said. “We have sold out of the most popular things, but we still have a lot of toys for kids, men’s gifts and women’s gifts.”

Goody’s will open at 7 a.m. today and will remain open until 7 p.m. to aid last minute shoppers searching for things to fill their list. Givens said special deals will be available throughout the day.

“I will pull some last minute deals on some of the things we have left over,” she said. “I will get on the P.A. when I have a good crowd. I will make a price and it goes. There are some really good bargains.”

Dennis Cockrell, manager of J.C. Penney in Andalusia, said his store will open its doors at 7 a.m. today and close at 6 p.m. to observe the Christmas holidays. The store will not reopen until 6 a.m. Friday.

“We have mailed a lot of coupons that customers are still bringing in,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of holiday clearance items marked 50 percent off. We just have so many things on sale in every department.”