View Full Version : Metro holiday sales above average



Patrick
12-21-2004, 12:26 AM
Well, compared ot other cities across the nation, our retailers are donig quite well. That was obvious to anyone who was at one of the metro malls this past weekend. I went to Penn Square this past Saturday, and the parking lot was so packed, people started parking on the grass on the north side of the mall.
I heard that Quail Springs Mall was just as busy.

I guess Oklahoma City is starting to make a statement. Hmmmm....weren't these the same retailers who said Oklahoma City wasn't a good market and they wouldn't locate here! lol! I think Saks, Macy's and other upscale retailers need to consider Oklahoma City.

Here's a beautiful pic of Penn Square Mall:
http://www.journalrecord.com/APTImages/OKC_60888.jpg

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"Holiday sales rise across metro, defying national trends
by Brian Brus
The Journal Record
12/21/2004

Holiday shoppers are proving once again why retail market forecasts are so difficult to cast, with sales picking up in the final week before Christmas, metro mall representatives said.
Nationally, industry watchers paint a contrary picture, with predictions that retailers will need to increase their discounting after a late-buying binge failed to materialize. Profit margins by the end of the season are expected to dwindle by 3 percent to 5 percent, some say.

Christie Parks, spokeswoman for Crossroads Mall in south Oklahoma City, said shoppers, as always, are waiting until the last minute.

"The last few days have been super," Parks said. "Shoppers really got busy by the middle of last week, leading into a great weekend. Retailers really try to get them out here sooner, but people always seem to wait until the end."

At Penn Square Mall in northwest Oklahoma City, sales seem to have similarly improved, mall spokeswoman Jeannette Smith said. Merchants traditionally see a lag in traffic immediately after "Black Friday," the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, but Smith said Penn Square merchants were content.

"Our merchants tell me they're very happy with sales this season," Smith said.

More than half of America, 52 percent, hit the stores over the weekend, national consumer behavior survey company America's Research Group reported. Those survey results compare with 43.6 percent for the same period last year and 45.5 percent two years ago.

America's Research Group Chief Executive Britt Beemer held to a prediction of 3.2 percent sales growth for the entire season over final tallies a year ago.

But Burt Flickinger III, managing partner at Strategic Resource Group, a New York-based industry consultant, told The Associated Press to expect "some dramatic desperation discounting" this week before Christmas. Flickinger said merchants needed a hefty sales surge this past weekend to recoup lost business after Black Friday failed to live up to expectations.

Managers of local malls won't get final sales feedback from resident merchants until much later, but secondary indicators - the number of children lining up for photos with Santa Claus, for example, and gift card sales - seem to have increased slightly, Parks and Smith said.

And therein might lie some of the cause for the discrepancy in perspectives: Gift cards, which are being followed by mall managers, are only recorded as sales when recipients redeem them, Quail Springs spokeswoman Stacey Aldridge said.

ShopperTrak, which tracks sales at 30,000 retail outlets nationally, reported Monday that total sales fell 3.3 percent for Saturday and Sunday, compared with the same two days a year ago.

Jim Neal, a principal at Kurt Salmon Associates, also reduced on Monday his holiday sales forecast to the low end of his initial range of 3 percent to 3.5 percent. And he questioned whether "unplanned specials" will work.

"Are consumers going to jump back in the car and get items that are on sale that are not on their list?" he asked.

Luxury stores - which have enjoyed robust sales as their well-heeled customers have benefited from the economy's recovery - had the best performance over the weekend, despite offering only selected discounts.

In contrast, midpriced merchants like Sears, Roebuck and Co. that cater to middle- and low-income shoppers - who have pulled back on spending as they have been more vulnerable to higher heating costs and a volatile job market - are being forced to keep trying to pull in customers with big discounts and expanded hours this week.

Parks said retailers have not been tremendously successful in changing consumers' shopping habits. She then admitted she was still procrastinating in her own shopping and had several gifts yet to buy. "