South Floridians Shopping for Needs Over Wants

No frills for most during difficult holiday season

Christmas shopping at the Old Navy Store located right in the edge of the Shops at Pembroke Gardens mall was brisk Wednesday.

"I am buying more of what I think my wife would need and what and what I think she likes," said Rene Saurez with kids in tow.  They were looking for some pajamas and had checked out a couple of velvet hoodies. 

Saurez was not alone, the store was buzzing but most of the shoppers echoed his shopping interest.

"I am buying what I need, what the kids need, no frills this Christmas," says Antoinette Barnes.

Retailers across the country are saying that shoppers are buying more. The day-after Thanksgiving Black Friday sales event produced higher sales than the previous year when the economy was still reeling. The recent Super Saturday nationwide retail sales promotion saw a big jump in dollars spent, up 15% from 2009.

But are South Florida shoppers spending on fun stuff or what they need?  Are they buying now what they may have been putting off during the economic woes?

Emerson Smith had a bag full of shirts, pants, and a dress for his wife. He'd bought  things he and his wife needed not anything frilly nothing frivolous. "But it is Christmas, " he said.

"I am buying what I need, " said Michele Quiles. She was shopping with her kids, who were looking for warm clothes. Her young son said he's plenty happy with a family trip to Orlando. That would be his Christmas present. But Michele said she is spending about the same as last year, maybe a little more.

The good news is people are out and buying and merchants have smiles on their faces as they seem to have calculated exactly what and how much to stock. They pushed early deals, deep discounts and now prices are back in line and popular items are beginning to thin out.

Saurez found that out. He snatched the last size small velvet hoodie off the rack. His wife will be so happy.

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