Despite early closings, local merchants say weather didn’t hurt sales

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Merchants who closed early because of Sunday’s snowstorm say Mother Nature did not hit their bottom line too hard.

Ann’s Hallmark – where shoppers traditionally line up in droves to get collectible holiday ornaments half price on the day after Christmas – only opened for two hours Sunday. Although shoppers turned out for the sale Sunday morning, the store closed around noon because of driving snow and icy road conditions.

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&uot;Sales are way down from the same day last year,&uot; said Oscie Sumner, the store’s manager. &uot;But our sales are way up for the year.

&uot;We’ve met our goal this year and anything else is gravy. We’re happy.&uot;

When the store opened at noon Monday, she said, four or five customers were waiting outside the door.

&uot;Sales have been steady all day today,&uot; she added.

Despite the heavy snow and treacherous roads, business was good at Belk’s on Sunday, said Crystal Billman, the department store’s assistant manager. The store closed at 1 p.m. Sunday.

&uot;We did OK, considering we shut seven hours early yesterday,&uot; Billman said. In fact, the store generated more revenue while open on Sunday than it did during regular business hours on the day after Christmas last year.

&uot;We had customers in the store Sunday upset because we decided to close early,&uot; she said.

The weather didn’t seem to deter die-hard shoppers at the downtown Suffolk Wal-Mart, said assistant manager Teresa Richardson.

&uot;We were busy all day yesterday,&uot; she said. &uot;I had a lot of people call and ask if we were open.

&uot;When they found out we were here, they came on in and did their shopping. It was pretty much business as usual here.&uot;