Holiday sales results mixed

Published 11:59 pm Monday, August 10, 2009

This year’s annual sales tax holiday drew mixed results for area merchants.

Store officials reported Friday that the event, which waived the sales tax on school-related items and clothing, was off to a “good start.”

By the time shoppers cleared the stores Sunday, many merchants said while they were appreciative of the sales, the “overall number” wasn’t where they hoped it would be at the end of the holiday.

Wal-Mart co-manager Earl Alsobrooks said the majority of his store’s sales occurred Saturday and appeared to be on target with last year’s collections.

“I’d have to say Saturday was our busiest day,” Alsobrooks said. “Sales were the same as last year, I’d say, and all things considered with the economy, that’s great. We didn’t have people picking up those ‘little extras’ that they normally get. They were there to get school supplies and items for basic school needs.”

JCPenney store manager Dennis Cockrell said sales at his store, while pleasing, were a “little off.”

“We made our sales goal, which is great,” he said. “And on Saturday we had a lot of traffic. But overall, I’d say we were a little off (from last year), but we made our goal.”

At Opp’s Peebles, store manager Kerry Bradley said sales totals were “not what we’d hoped for.”

“We did pretty good, considering,” Bradley said. “It seemed to me people were going to the less expensive stores for the bulk of their items. Here, people were really hitting the bargain and clearance racks and we really appreciate them coming in.”

However, declining sales were not the case at Factory Connection. Store manager Jessie Walden said collections over the three-day event were “amazing.”

“Jeans were our biggest seller,” Walden said. “Our shelves — we’re just wiped out. We’re crossing our fingers we get a new shipment in soon.

“We blew last year’s totals out of the water,” she said.

Walden said she believed the absence of Goody’s could have helped the store’s sales. The department store closed earlier this year.

“People came in and shopped, really shopped,” she said. “We had a great sale going and people really took advantage of it.”

Many retailers said they plan to continue to offer additional savings on merchandise in an attempt to increase August sales numbers.