Photo by Corinne Nicholson
COVINGTON -- Store managers are hoping that holiday budgets are up this year and many are opening stores early on Black Friday.
Stores around Covington and Conyers are opening as early as 3 a.m., and 24-hour stores like Wal-Mart are offering deals as early as midnight to shoppers who are eager to finish up their Christmas shopping this week.
Covington Kmart Manager Don Buckner of Conyers said he thinks people's wallets are recovering from the recession and expects many shoppers this week.
"The last couple of months have been good, so hopefully," he said.
As in years past, he said electronics will be popular items to be purchased as gifts. He said gaming systems like the Xbox and Nintendo Wii, especially the colored ones, are very popular choices right now.
Surprisingly, he said general toys like dolls and cars also are popular purchases, perhaps because of the slowed economy that has affected some more than others.
"We've had a tremendous increase in just basic toys," Buckner said.
Shopping at discount stores might be an option for some shoppers who are watching their budgets.
"We are expecting huge crowds; a lot of people have been buying cold weather items like robes and jackets," said Denise Green, store manager at Ross in Conyers. "Ever since the recession started, we are seeing a lot of people who normally shop at the malls shop here now."
In the department stores, Toys like Dora the Explorer, Disney's Toy Story, Barbie and video games are topping boys' and girls' Christmas wish lists this year, according to the 2010 Top Toys survey given by the National Retail Foundation.
"While it's always interesting to see how pop culture drives hot girls and boys toys each year, it's just as exciting to witness the staying power of the more traditional toys, like Barbie and LEGO," said Pam Goodfellow, senior analyst at BIGresearch, a consumer intelligence agency. "Gift givers who aren't quite sure what to get the children on their shopping lists should consider these types of toy best bets."
According to NRF's survey, 41.9 percent of consumers plan to buy toys this holiday season.
"With many retailers already discounting popular toys, parents should make sure to start their shopping sooner rather than later as 'hot' merchandise is hard to keep around," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.