Stores anticipate increase in holiday sales

CONYERS — Ready or not Black Friday shopping starts Thanksgiving Day for many retailers.

Belk and Kohl’s in Conyers will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, and managers expect to see a boost in sales.

Georgia Retail Association President Rick McAllister said retailers can make 20 to 40 percent of all their annual sales during the Christmas shopping season in November and December. He also predicted that the early arrival of a winter cold front would boost apparel sales at retailers across the state.

Belk operations manager Corey Byrd said he thinks there’s a chance to see an increase in outerwear sales.

“Because it didn’t get cold here until February or March last year, we took a huge hit on jackets and coats,” Byrd said. “So compared to last year, I think we’ll see an increase.”

Kohl’s assistant store manager Robbin Canty said she’s expecting an increase in holiday sales, but didn’t give any specific numbers.

Despite the cold front moving through the state, Canty and Byrd don’t expect the weather to prevent customers from standing in lines.

“Nothing stops people from shopping,” Byrd said.

Jan and Gary Patrick, owners of Patrick’s Feed & Seed in Covington, said they expect a busy December. During the Christmas season, the general store offers more than 175 different old-fashioned candies, fruit and gift baskets for customers to custom order.

“It gets real crazy anytime in December, but it’s so much fun,” Jan Patrick said.

While the general store will not have any specials for Black Friday, Jan said she expects to sell more than 50 tons of candy for the holiday season.

“We’re looking good this year. Looks like so far a better year than the last four or five since the economy was so depressed,” she said. “Each year it gets a little bit better.”