Holiday Sales Keeping Pace

At a downtown Gulfport bookstore, Frances and Paul Walker were shopping for a book to give their son-in-law for Christmas. The Walkers say gift giving this year is taking on a different meaning because of everything that's going on around the world.

"We're probably spending the same amount, but we're just being a little more selective," Paul said. "We're not just going out and buying things. We're putting more thought into it."

Bookstore owner Teresa Speir says she's noticed a lot of her customers are doing the same, and she says people are browsing more before they actually buy.

"They're holding onto their money; they're shopping so when they're ready to make their purchases they know where they want to go," she says. "I've seen a lot of those browsers that were in here before Thanksgiving come back in the last week."

Speir says this year's sales so far are keeping pace with last year's.

"I've had Christmas sales two years in a row right at flat, about the same, which is pretty good considering the competition that's out there, so this year it looks like things are running the same as they were last year sales-wise."

Next door, Mississippi Made Marketplace just opened its doors in August, and owner Regina Lightsey says business couldn't be better. But she says her customers seem to be trying to make their dollars stretch as far as possible.

"I think they're trying to do smaller things for their friends and that's what we've been able to help 'em with. We've given 'em a variety of like small baskets and unique items and things they can enjoy," Lightsy says.

Lightsey and Speir say people are going to shop for Christmas, even if it means doing so with a much smaller list.