With "Black Friday" just around the corner, shopping centers and malls are stacking up on sales and markdowns. They're also stacking up their list of employees. "It's almost doubled," said Krystal McBanus, General Manager of Chick-fil-A, "we've had a really big increase in the year so far, our best sales yet."
Last year, consumers were singing the shopping blues, and sales plunged. However, things are looking up, as the numbers indicate there are more local retail jobs right now, compared to last year at this time. "I believe that there is probably some inclination out there to spend more out of income this year than there was last year," said Dr. Robert Eisenstadt, ULM Associate Professor of Economics.
So now, holiday job hopefuls are getting better luck finding work this year. In fact, many businesses say they hired employees, months in advance. "We actually started in August, hiring people so we can get trained for the holidays, said McBanus.
Meanwhile, some other stores, like "the Buckle" say they are looking forward to increased sales, but they do not need new employees. "I don't have a ton of outsiders," said Brian King, Area Manager of The Buckle, "most of my holiday help that I've hired have been are employees that have worked for me before."
Overall, experts say the local economy is slowly improving, and holiday sales are looking up, locally and nationwide. "Given the rise in consumer confidence that we should see some strength in seasonal sales," said Dr. Eisenstadt.
So for this holiday season, it looks like the shopping blues are over for now. "We've seen a huge increase, just in the traffic in the mall this week, so I think we'll see a lot of people out this weekend," said King.