Weather and Holiday Shopping

A cold wind and the first flurries helped spur shoppers on this Black Friday. Tony has a look at how weather affected the turnout.

Wet Snow Puts Shoppers in Spirit

The Salvation Army kettle at the Route 60 Wall Mart filled up today, as folks used the first flurries of the season as an inspiration. “When it is snows, we seem to generate more support”, Sergeant Chris Flees told me as we rang the bells together.

Spurred on by a cold northwest wind laced with light snow at times, people had a good gait as they approached the kettle. But in an era when economic recession has put a crimp on disposable family incomes, somehow folks slowed down to toss their spare cash and change into the red kettle.

Turns out the Grammy nominated rock band, Daughtry, performed in front of a national TV audience at halftime of the Dallas Cowboys-Oakland Raiders game on Thanksgiving Day to kick off the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” Christmas campaign.

Of course, people had more than philanthropy on their minds as they attacked the start of a shortened Christmas shopping season. The late Thanksgiving date this year means there are only three more weekends before Christmas this year.

For the record, there were door busters and sales galore to attract shoppers on this Black Friday! (Footnote, for a non mall shopper, when are there not sales and specials?)

Heather Smith, Assistant Director of Marketing for the Huntington Mall gushed on how busy foot traffic has been. “When the Disney Store opened at midnight and we had a crowd, I knew it would be a busy opening day”, she told me. “And unlike last year when we had plenty of foot traffic but a lot of window shoppers, everyone seemed to have packages in their hands, so they are buying”.

Heather and I then discussed how the weather plays a role in getting people out and about. My thesis last night on Newschannel 3 at 11 focused on how a melting wet snow would get people in the spirit but not convince them to stay home. “After a big Thanksgiving Day at home, people had nothing else to do. Damp and cold weather is great for mall business”, Heather added.

That dynamic will change around this weekend as the weather trends back to springtime with highs 55-60. So if you have procrastinated on hanging those holiday decorations, you have a mild reprieve this weekend.

By the way, there are signs of our first real cold wave and accumulating snows late next week-weekend.

So it is very possible next weekend's mall traffic will be affected.

IF THAT OCCURS, we could be 2 weekends before Christmas with lots of people not having done much shopping. That could make for an especially crowded two weeks leading up to Christmas.
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