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Christmas shopping starts strong

<p>They lined up early: Shoppers stand in line awaiting the opening of the Paris Walmart last Thursday. The store had special holiday sales last Thursday and Friday. The first person in line said he arrived at 10:30 a.m. last Thursday. Store manager Rodney Brewer said Walmart was filled with shoppers both days.</p>

They lined up early: Shoppers stand in line awaiting the opening of the Paris Walmart last Thursday. The store had special holiday sales last Thursday and Friday. The first person in line said he arrived at 10:30 a.m. last Thursday. Store manager Rodney Brewer said Walmart was filled with shoppers both days.

If the level of traffic and sales at the Paris Walmart location are any indication, it could be a very busy and happy holiday season for area merchants.

The level of shopping last weekend, which started on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28 and ended Saturday, Nov. 30, was pretty high, according to Walmart manager Rodney Brewer.

“Thursday through Saturday, we had very good sales and very good customer traffic” Brewer said earlier this week. “It was probably the best I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been manager of this store.”

With a Christmas shopping season six days shorter than last year, retailers sought to get a jump on things by holding Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving Day. Walmart had special sales last Thursday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The sales continued Friday, Brewer said.

The doors at the Paris Walmart opened at 4 p.m. last Thursday.

“It was awesome,” Brewer said. “We had more people in this store than I’ve ever seen. They were buying everything.”

Brewer also said that it appeared shoppers were spending more this year than last.

The big unknown facing retailers now is whether the weekend’s results can continue until the shopping season ends in three weeks.

Brewer was asked about that and ventured a guess.

“It’s going to be rushed with only three weeks until Christmas,” he said. “We’re going to be busy until January.”

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