Wish for retailers? Rain, rain go away

Published 4:18 pm Friday, December 18, 2009

The constant rain, combined with cold and gloom, has literally and figuratively put a damper on holiday shopping in Greenville.

However, with Christmas less than a week away, local retailers are hoping an improvement in the weather will see more shoppers at the registers in the coming days.

“It’s pepping up,” said Randy Beeson, owner-manager of Fred’s Discount in Greenville, when queried about the state of holiday sales at his business.

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“It’s not terrific but it’s good. The rain has definitely been a hindrance. We have a lot of senior citizens who aren’t going to get out in this weather,” Beeson said.

“We’ve done everything we can do to prepare for the next few days. We’ve got three major ads going on at this time, with hundreds of items offering deep discounts.”

Wednesday, the sole “good weather” day of the week did see an improvement in traffic, Beeson said.

While he’s hoping for a good last-weekend-before-Christmas, Beeson said December 26 should also be an excellent sales day for Fred’s.

“With the popularity of gift cards and cash nowadays, we still get a lot of shoppers on the day after Christmas,” Beeson said.

At Wal-Mart, the recent wet, cold weather has also negatively impacted sales, said general manager Bill McCrary.

“And I can’t blame people. If I didn’t have to work and could stay home warm and dry, I would, too,” he said. “We’re certainly hoping for some improvement in the weather.”

As it has for the past month, Wal-Mart will be holding a Secret Sale this Saturday morning as an incentive for customers.

A hot ticket item for this Christmas has been the Zhu-Zhu Pet, and early birds will be able to nab one locally next week.

“We’ve got a limited quantity of those coming in that will be available at 7 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, limit one per customer per day,” McCrary said.

“We’ll have a number of special and rollbacks – some of which I don’t even know about yet – and we also have an abundance of gift items for everyone – especially for the guys.”

Katrina Scofield, manager of The Pineapple downtown, said they are “hanging in there.”

“The weather has hurt us, too, and we aren’t where we were last year. But we are thankful for what we have done so far,” she said.

“Hopefully this next week will boom and carry us through. And we have been busier the last couple of days, which is encouraging.”

Like McCrary, Scofield expects to see a number of male customers, who have a tendency to procrastinate on playing Santa, in the shop in the coming days.

The downtown shop is currently offering 30 percent off all ladies’ clothes and Life is Good merchandise.