Retailers experience prosperous weekend

Published 10:50 am Monday, November 28, 2011

Heidi Bunch looks over Carhartt coats marked 50 percent off at Franklin Ace Hardware as her daughter, Haley, waits patiently on Friday. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Nationwide, shoppers spent 9.1 percent more this Thanksgiving weekend compared to one year earlier, an increase Carlton Cutchin says he also experienced.

“That’s about right,” said Cutchin, owner of Franklin Ace Hardware and Virginia’s largest dealer of Carhartt clothing.

Cutchin said he doesn’t know why spending jumped like it did, noting he only expected a 2 to 3 percent increase over last year.

“The question is are they buying everything now and are they not going to buy later on,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

The National Retail Federation said Sunday the 9.1 percent increase was the biggest since 2006 and that the average customer spent almost $400. In all, 6.6 percent more shoppers visited stores on Black Friday weekend than last year.

Walmart in Franklin was quite busy, said Assistant Manager Steve Bailey.

“As far as everything went, it went really good,” Bailey said. “It went great. It was packed on Thursday night.”

The store experienced an increase in holiday weekend sales over 2010, but he did not know the percent.

Mary Huffman, owner of Brady’s Jewel Box in Windsor, said Saturday was busier than Friday.

“I think everyone hit the malls on Friday,” Huffman said. “I think TV publicized the mall, the mall, the mall. That kills local businesses.”

She noted that she was busier this year compared to last, when her jewelry store was located in downtown Franklin. Over the summer, Huffman moved her business to the Food Lion shopping center in Windsor.

“I think my location had a lot to do with it,” she said.

Customers were looking and buying.

“The purchases I had were good dollar amounts,” Huffman said.