Holiday shopping season gets underway across eastern Oklahoma

Friday, November 25th 2005, 6:22 am
By: News On 6

People across Green Country are fanned out and lined up at several stores early Friday morning going in search of bargains.

Bargain shoppers woke up before dawn to head to the nation's malls and stores Friday, including here in Tulsa.

It's the official start of the holiday shopping season, and many shoppers were hoping to snap up early bird specials on items, from toys to digital music players.

In an improving but still challenging economy, merchants are hoping for big crowds to set a positive tone for the entire holiday season.

At the Target at 17th and Yale, hundreds of shoppers lined up for the store's 6 AM opening. Store employees say the opening was orderly. The situation was the same at the SuperTarget at 71st and Hwy 169, as well as the Best Buy locations in Tulsa.

Retailers' spirits have improved in recent weeks amid falling gasoline prices. In fact, earlier this week the Washington-based National Retail Federation upgraded its holiday growth forecast to 6 percent, 5 percent, announced back in September.

Still, many shoppers are cautious. While gasoline prices have fallen, they are still high, and this winter, shoppers will face higher heating bills.

Retailers are hoping that consumers won't delay their holiday shopping until the last minute, but most analysts believe consumers will procrastinate again this year.

While the day after Thanksgiving officially starts the holiday shopping season, it is no longer the busiest shopping day. Last year, it was Saturday, December 18, a week before Christmas.

Last year, the Thanksgiving weekend rush accounted for only 9.2 percent of holiday sales. The busiest week was from December 12 through December 18, which garnered 22.5 percent of holiday sales, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.