Fourth Equals Big Business For Area Retailers

When you think of holiday shopping, you probably think of Christmas and the day after Thanksgiving, not the fourth of July. The holiday weekend doesn't bring in as much money as the bigger ones, but it brings in enough to make store managers look forward to it.

"We gear up for it pretty strong," says Chris Ortstadt manager of the Ocean Springs Super Walmart. "We treat it just like a Christmas or any holiday. It's just as valued as Christmas."

Other businesses say slowly but surely, the fourth of July weekend is becoming a major shopping holiday.

"This year and the last couple of years have actually been progressively better," says Manager Tom Solley with Rex TV and Appliance. "The economy is strong in this area."

Assistant manager Jodi Bowers says sales at Sears in Gautier have been nothing short of fantastic this year. Especially when it comes to lawn mowers and other big ticket items.

"It's Pretty phenomenal," says Bowers. "Versus last year, we've done fantastic. A lot better than we expected."

Most area retailers say a stronger economy is the reason behind strong sales. Company policy prevented many of the managers from sharing any actual sales numbers. However they all seemed to agree that when it comes to ranking holidays associated with sales, the Fourth actually comes in around fifth.