Retailers see steady day of returns

Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 27, 2012



Steady. That’s how local retailers described Wednesday’s returns.

On a day when bargain-crazed shoppers usually search great buys, merchants weren’t seeing the typical rush the day brings.

“It’s steady,” said Goody’s manager Leslie Melton. “It might be a little less busy than last year, but that could be because of the weather.”

Still, Melton said those that did choose to brave the winds were taking advantage of the retailer’s buy one, get one half off sales.

“We have a lot of shoppers taking advantage of that,” she said.

JCPenney manager Dennis Cockrell echoed Melton’s statement.

“It’s going very smoothly,” he said. “But we haven’t seen quite the rush. Hopefully, that means everyone was satisfied with their gifts.”

Those who were out and about were taking advantage of the company’s after-Christmas clearance event, he said.

Nationally, U.S. retail sales were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession, the Associated Press reported.

Analysts predicted that holiday sales would grow 3 to 4 percent.

Officials reported that seasonal shopping was interrupted by dreadful weather and consumers’ looming uncertainty of the economy.

Still, a string of events throughout the nation are believed to have contributed to the lack of spending, including Superstorm Sandy and other bad weather events; the presidential election and the Newtown, Conn., massacre, and Washington’s current budget stalemate is trickling down to the local levels.

Weak sales could have consequences for 2013, analysts predict.

Retailers will make fewer orders to restock their shelves, and discounts will hurt their profitability. Wholesalers, in turn, will buy fewer goods, and orders to factories for consumer goods will likely drop in the coming months.