Bargain hunters continue to enjoy stores' discounts

Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009 7:00 am By: Jennifer Palmer

The Oklahoman

As the nation slid into a recession, discounts on merchandise of 50 to 75 percent became commonplace.

There were pre-Christmas sales, post-Christmas sales, Presidents Day sales -- anything to get consumers to loosen their grip on their wallets.

Many experts say those sales will continue, at least for a few months.

"There are still a lot of opportunities to save, and I predict that will continue into the spring," said Jeanette Smith, director of marketing for Penn Square Mall.

Good place to be
Bargain hunters may have found the deals too hard to resist.

Nationally, January retail sales were up 1 percent over the previous month, according to the National Retail Federation.

Oklahoma City is still faring better than most cities. January retail sales in Oklahoma County were up more than 5 percent.

"If I had to pick any place to be, it'd be Oklahoma City right now," said Alison Oshel, a retail analyst with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

'Poised' for growth
The national retail scene is dismal, she said.

But locally, "We may be poised for some growth," Oshel said.

For shoppers, that may translate into big savings at national chain stores.

When consumers start seeing tax cuts from the economic stimulus bill adding a little extra to their paychecks, around June, you can bet retailers will be enticing them to spend it.

"Anything more that the folks have in their pocket is most likely going to be spent," said Matt Robison, director of the Oklahoma Retail Council.

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