Retailers hopeful for last minute shoppers

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippians are heading into the holidays facing the toughest economy in decades.

If predictions hold true, this Christmas season may be less than jolly. That's why retailers in one Gulfport strip mall are offering more incentives for South Mississippi shoppers.

"We've marked all of our Christmas stuff 50 percent off," said Rachel McGill.

McGill works at Freckles, a children's boutique in Courthouse Station. In addition to slashing prices, the colorful store is also adding even more incentives just in time for the holidays.

"If they need a lot of presents wrapped and if they leave them here, we'll have it bagged, boxed and ready," said McGill.

They are wrapping presents and extended their hours and so are their neighbors.

"We're thinking that it's going to be really busy and people are going to be doing a lot of last minute shopping," said Brittney Alger, with Fringe.

Like many other retail shops, workers at Fringe say business is a bit bleak this holiday season.

"Before we had a lot of high spenders but now people are a little bit more lenient but now that things are on sale it's been going a lot quicker than it was beforehand," Alger said.

South Mississippi business owners say sales are sluggish to say the least. One reason of course is the slowing economy. Another is a shorter shopping season. Last year, Thanksgiving fell on November 22nd, compared to November 27 this year, which eliminates one shopping weekend.

However, many shoppers enjoy the hustle and bustle of getting in the Christmas spirit right before the holiday. And retailers hope procrastinators will ultimately help their bottom line.