Holiday shopping season starts strong

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With the official kick-off of the holiday season happening last week on Black Friday, how is this year stacking up to 2011?

With sales, markdowns and deals to be had eat every turn, retailers are pulling out all the stops this year to get shoppers through their doors.

“Because it’s such a competitive industry, retailers are offering really sharp price point to get consumers into the store and also to get them online,” said Patricia Huddleston, MSU advertising and retail professor.

This year, shoppers are already exceeding sales expectations with Black Friday sales up 13% and Cyber Monday sales up 25% from last year. Meridian Mall had more than 80 stores open at midnight on Black Friday.

“Well traffic is very steady and people seem to be opening their wallets and spending a bit more this holiday season,” said Claudia Bliel, marketing specialist at Meridian Mall.

And holiday is now a whole lot easier with many retailers hopping on the smartphone bandwagon, meaning you can scan QR codes and find sales and discounts in the area.

“It’s estimated that 4 out of 5 smart phone users will be using smart phones for shopping this holiday season,” Huddleston said.

Huddleston said shoppers are using their phones to check price comparisons and store inventories.

But no matter your approach to shopping this Christmas, this season is shaping up to be a cheerful one for both retailers and buyers.

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