Stores bracing for Black Friday shopping

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Lisa Dickinson and two business partners took a big risk this year. They opened "Rue Magnolia Pottery" in downtown Biloxi on October first, in the middle of a shaky economy.

"I feel good," said Dickinson. "I think we have a good product and so I'm going to ignore the media about the bad economy, and just pretend everything's wonderful."

That optimism remains strong as Dickinson prepares for Black Friday, the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Orders for hand-crafted pottery, clay jewelry, and other artistic creations are coming in.

"It's been one kiln load after another. We have been working like dogs," said Dickinson.

New merchandise is also appearing on shelves and racks at the Dillard's store in Biloxi. To lure customers this Friday, the department store is opening three hours early and offering doorbuster sales.

"And that's something new for us," said Dillard's Store Manager Julie Fox. "We're not really a doorbuster company, so we're excited about that."

Fox says her store is doing well, despite the fact that the company just reported a $56 million loss in third quarter earnings and is planning to lay off 500 employees.

"I'm very optimistic. I think this Christmas is going to be incredible for us. It's our first one since Katrina, so we're excited and we can tell that the customers are real excited," said Fox.

This will also be Dickinson's first Christmas in business, and she expects to make a lot of green.

"I think we're going to do great. I see a lot of clay in my future," said Dickinson.

The National Retail Federation predicts up to 128 million people will do some holiday shopping during the long Thanksgiving weekend. That's down more than five-percent compared to a year ago.