Holiday shopping still going

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Beth Covin, right, and Christa Kelley wrap gifts at Pink Peppers.

Beth Covin, right, and Christa Kelley wrap gifts at Pink Peppers.

If you’re headed out today for some serious, last-minute shopping, you’re not alone, according to area retailers.

Parking lots were jammed full at businesses across Andalusia Monday, and store managers said they were glad to see the crowds.

“We’ve had an increase throughout the entire holiday season, not just these last few days,” Christa Moore, a supervisor at Andalusia’s Goody’s, said.

Dennis Cockrell, store manager at Andalusia’s J.C. Penney, said sales have been great this Christmas season after a dramatic change to some of the store’s policies.

“It’s been really good this year,” Cockrell said. “It’s been busy, really since Black Friday. We’re doing pretty good this holiday season.”

Cockrell said he attributes much of the uptick in sales to the company returning to policies the stores are known for – policies like offering regular coupons and sales.

Those well-known store practices were suspended in 2012 by then-CEO Ron Johnson, who tried unsuccessfully to take the company in a different direction. Johnson was replaced in April.

“Last year’s holiday season was rough,” Cockrell said. “But this year, we have brought back all of the coupons and discounts, and we’re offering them again just like we used to.”

While plenty of shoppers are still looking for deals before Christmas arrives tomorrow, not everyone in stores on Monday was in a shopping panic.

Paul and Robin Jackson of Andalusia said they were just “browsing.”

“We’ve got (all the shopping) done,” Paul Jackson said. “We don’t have any young kids. We’re just out looking.”

No matter why people are out in stores, retailers said they are happy to see the crowds, and are already anticipating a post-holiday rush.

At chain stores like Goody’s and J.C. Penney, as well as locally owned stores like Pink Peppers, retailers said they will open Thursday expecting to process returns and exchanges.

All three stores will offer refunds for customers with receipts, while those without receipts will receive store credit, gift cards or, at Goody’s, slightly less money than the retail value of the item.