After a struggling year, local retailers get big help from shoppers weekend before Christmas

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a year where brick and mortar stores have struggled to survive, the weekend before Christmas represented a bright spot for local retailers.

With only four shopping days till Christmas, many stores just experienced their biggest financial upturn of the year.

Stores rolled out the red carpet for mask-wearing, in-person shoppers, slashing prices and offering extended hours and curbside pickup. 

Anything to boast business on what has otherwise been a pretty abysmal year. 

“It has been a little tough,” said Mechelle Hulse, a manager at Dillard’s in Zona Rosa. “We do have online ordering and people can do curbside and buy online and pick up in store. That has helped a lot with our business. which we are grateful for because we don’t have the traffic we had before.”

Stay at home orders and dwindling sales have forced several retailers at Zona Rosa to permanently shut down, but in the midst of this pandemic the outdoor shopping center has joined the pivot. Even building an ice-skating rink to keep customers coming.

“In the last couple of weeks shoppers are coming back out,” Zona Rosa Marketing Director Natalie Bass said. “I think that’s in large part because that’s what people want to do at Christmas. It’s part of their traditions.” 

Because shipping is delayed and unpredictable, shoppers who need presents under the tree by Christmas are now depending on stores to stay open.  Stores are extending hours and running last minute sales to make shopping as safe as possible.  

“You can do your buying online and pickup in the store. We have curbside available for our customers. They can also do returns and buy their gift cards here too. We are trying to make it as convenient and stress-free as possible for every single customer,” said Leslie Able, a district manager for Old Navy.

With only a handful of shopping days left until Christmas, retailers are wishing for a steady stream of holiday shoppers that extends right through the new year.

Of course, some of the biggest sales at local retail stores will come in the weeks following Christmas.  So many brick and mortars are desperate to make up for lost revenue.

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