Last updated: December 24. 2013 8:32PM - 708 Views
Lauren Williams Staff Writer



Lauren Williams/Sampson IndependentTraffic was heavy and parking spaces were hard to come by at Sampson Crossing on Christmas Eve. At Belk, many cars were lined up at times as drivers waited for an open space near the store.
Lauren Williams/Sampson IndependentTraffic was heavy and parking spaces were hard to come by at Sampson Crossing on Christmas Eve. At Belk, many cars were lined up at times as drivers waited for an open space near the store.
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This holiday season local retailers had much to celebrate, including steady and even rising business as people rushed out to stores prior to Christmas to purchase those last minute gifts for family and friends, and many shoppers will return to those same stores to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and discounts that begin today.


“It’s been great,” said Karen Thompson, store manager of Burke’s Outlet out at Sampson Crossing, of business leading up to Christmas Day.


“We’ve been very busy, a lot busier than I thought we would be,” she shared on Christmas Eve. “I was a few minutes later opening up today and they were already lined up and coming in.”


Lines will likely be forming again outside the store now that Christmas has come and gone and employees have marked items that were already 30 percent off before Christmas down to 50 percent off.


Also out at Sampson Crossing, Clinton’s Belk has likewise seen many shoppers come through its doors and leave with numerous bags in hand.


“We’ve been busy, busy, busy,” said Belk store manager Brad Shook on Christmas Eve. “It seems like everyone has waited until the last minute to finish their shopping.”


When asked what kinds of sales Belk would be offering to bring shoppers back to the store after celebrating Christmas with their loved ones, Shook replied that, in addition to the store’s normal sales, such as DoorBusters, “we’ll be doing a lot of clearance sales on Christmas items.”


He explained that anything related to Christmas will be marked down starting today, offering people a great opportunity to visit the store — open today from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. — and stock up on many festive items for the next holiday season while still minding their wallets.


On the other side of town, Joyce Owen, store manager of Matthews’ Cards and Gifts out at Jordan Plaza, agreed that business had been particularly good this holiday season.


“It has held firm. We’ve been real pleased this year,” she shared on Christmas Eve, noting that while the store was plenty busy the day before Christmas with last minute shoppers, it was Monday, Dec. 23 when the store was open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. that was “a great day for us.”


“It typically is for us,” Owen added, pointing out that she knew of many who were already starting to gather with family and friends for the holidays a day or two prior to Christmas Day, and therefore needed to get their shopping done a little in advance of the last mad rush on Christmas Eve.


According to Owen, starting today shoppers can expect to find Christmas items discounted anywhere from 40 to 50 percent at Matthew’s, a sale that will run through the end of December.


“We will be open the day after Christmas from 10 a.m. t0 5 p.m.,” she added, encouraging people to come out and take advantage of those sale items.


Most of all, though, she wanted toexpress her appreciation for all those who came through Matthew’s doors during the holiday season.


“We’re above where we were last year,” she notedof the store’s sales. “and we all just want to thank our customers for shopping with us. They’re why sales have held firm and we’re very appreciative.”


Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at lwilliams@civitasmedia.com.


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