Holiday Sales Numbers Look Bright

Experts project the average Mississippi family will spend almost $750 on gifts this Christmas. While there are no firm numbers locally, Meridianites are projected to spend more than last year

Renee Williams, general manager of Bonita Lakes Mall, says, "We are seeing more as far as spending, but based on consumer confidence, what the average household in Meridian, Mississippi is spending I really couldn't say, but we are seeing an increase in what people are projecting to spend this year as opposed to what they spent last year."

Depending when you are at the mall, it may seem empty, but Williams emphasized the numbers are there, the peak shopping times have just changed.

"Actually, our traffic has been very good. Our numbers are up, our counts are up from over last year, so some of the traffic patterns definitely changed. We saw that Black Friday with shoppers shopping earlier and stores opening at midnight as opposed to 4am last year, but overall, the traffic is doing very well," Williams explains.

Those shopping online often can catch savings that are greater than you find in stores, but the increase in online shopping actually is helping some stores bring in more customers to their physical location.

"The brick and mortar stores are still doing well," says Williams. "People still want to look, touch, feel, get that experience, but a lot more shoppers we're finding are shopping online, seeing what's out there, what's available, then coming to the stores and actually making a purchase."

Starting this weekend, the Bonita Lakes Mall will enter extended mall hours on Saturday and Sunday, and each day, at every hour on the hour, it will snow at Santa's.