Fewer days for holiday shopping

COLUMBIA (WACH) - With fewer days to get out and shop this holiday season, stores may have been a bit worried that less days would equal less money.

But now that one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year has come and gone, things are looking good.

"This years'sales are up. Brick and mortar sales are up 3.4%. Online sales are up 15% from last year. So, so far it looks like it's going to be a very merry Christmas both for retailers and for consumers." says Marianne Bickle, Director of the USC Center for Retailing.

Brick and mortar stores like Pink Sorbet right here in Columbia actually reported that sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving actually exceeded their expectations.

"On's traditionally called Black Friday but we call it Colorful Friday in here, we know we have to compete with big box stores. So we kind of let that be their day and then our day would be Small Business Saturday, which is the next day. But we found it to be reverse this year. Our Colorful Friday was like our Small Business Saturday last year, but even better." states Beth Baxley, the owner of Pink Sorbet.

And even though online shopping seems to be a growing trend, Beth feels as though traditional stores like Pink Sorbet offer something that no website can.

"We have to compete every day with online sites but we feel like we offer something you can't get in cyberspace. You come in here and get a beautiful shopping experience - customer service. We just try and go that extra mile for our customer." Baxley explains.

If you missed out on shopping this Thanksgiving weekend, don't worry.

With a shorter shopping season, stores are pulling out all the stops to make sure you get in the door and spend that holiday money.

"The biggest discounts are yet to come. We know for a fact that retailers are going to have more promotional materials, more ad, more blockbusters, and there will be bigger sales as we approach the holiday season." Bickle concludes.

A holiday season that is already shaping up to very merry indeed.