Tony Parra and Darrell Todd Maurina
The Christmas shopping rush began bright and early for Portales shoppers and retail stores enjoyed a successful first day of Christmas shopping after Friday’s registers closed.
At Wal-Mart $29 DVD players and $180 automobile DVD players sold out within the first half-hour of the start of its sale.
“We had shoppers lined up from the lay-away area to the front doors, waiting to make purchases,” Wal-Mart Assistant Manager Grayham Sim said. “We sold 24 automotive DVD players within the first 15 minutes and we sold two pallet loads of $29 DVD players within 30 minutes.”
Grayham said there were plenty of shoppers for the opening day, but that it’s not necessarily an extremely profitable day for Wal-Mart.
“We make a lot of sales, but we don’t make a lot of money because the items are marked down so low,” Grayham said. “It’s really more beneficial for the customer. It makes the customer happy and keeps them coming back.”
Grayham said that the long lines and big crowds were well-behaved this year, but in the past Grayham has seen altercations before sales on the first shopping day of Christmas.
“We had some crazy altercations because of Furby about five years ago,” Grayham said about working in the Wal-Mart in Clovis, when it was located in the North Plains Mall. “We had fights break out before we opened the store.”
Beall’s clothing store had people knocking down the doors on Friday, Beall’s officials said.
“We had shoppers knocking on the doors at 8 a.m.,” Beall’s Assistant Manager Yonara Pereles said. “We had a lot of shoppers wanting to come in and it was steady throughout the day.”
Pereles said that Beall’s was $800 away from reaching last year’s mark the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known as the first big shopping day of the Christmas holiday.
Managers at Clovis’ two newest chain stores, Lowe’s and Hastings, said they weren’t sure going into Friday what they should expect but were extremely glad to see high sales.
Interviewed early Friday evening, Lowe’s manager Mike Duguid said the store already had seen 1,800 ticket transactions, which means four to five times that number of customers went through the store.
“This is an excellent day, the best day we’ve had so far since we opened,” Duguid said.
Mike Thompson, a manager at Hastings, said the store had 1,500 to 2,000 transactions.
“It’s been fantastic,” Thompson said. “Clovis has been really good to us.”
Thompson said new video club memberships have been among the hottest ticket items.
While browsing through the video department, Jennie Thompson of Cannon Air Force Base said she hoped to rent some videos for her younger family members.
“We’ve never been to Hastings before, we’re just out looking around,” Thompson said.
Cindy Stamps, a department manager at Dillards, said the number of people coming to her store for post-Thanksgiving shopping has been excellent.
“I think some families do it as a tradition; they like to come up front to see what we have to shop,” Stamps said.
Portales resident Debbie Lambirth was one of those regular shoppers.
“I always shop — usually there are a lot of good sales going on and it gets you in the Christmas spirit for the holiday,” she said. “I’ve been shopping here (at Dillards) ever since they opened. They have beautiful clothes, and their help is always real friendly and helpful.”
Her husband was a bit less enthusiastic.
“She just drags me along every year,” said Barry Lambirth.
Managers at Kay-Bee Toys and Hobbies said the store saw about 700 transactions by evening and key items selling included Bratz dolls for girls, the Beyblades action game, and the Bionicles Lego set.
Dyanne Frazier of Portales said she has come out to shop every year on the day after Thanksgiving since her children were young, and Friday saw her shopping for toys for her grandchildren.
“It’s fun watching my grandchildren decide what they’d like to buy,” Frazier said.
Darrell Todd Maurina of Freedom Newspapers contributed to this story.