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Retailers prepare for holiday shopping rush

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 29 2012 10:59:36 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Retailers down at the Southgate Mall know from experience how packed stores can get around the holidays but they say they’re prepared for the rush.

Jennifer Clouse owns one of the many stores in the Southgate Mall and she says this is the first year she's had to hire extra staff in preparation for the busy holiday season.

“It can be a little bit stressful on the smaller local businesses to really stretch out those working hours,” said Clouse.  “It's a lot of extra staffing during the holidays but we are busier so it helps.”

Clouse says she has a handful of part time staffers who really appreciate working extra holiday hours.

“It does help having some part time people because we can extend their hours and get them closer to full time,” said Clouse. 

Southgate Mall manager Tim Winger says many retailers start preparing for the holiday rush months in advance.

“If they have a staff where they're going to need extra employees during the holidays to beef up they'll start doing that in the summer and early fall,” said Winger. 

Clouse says her store is already prepared for the holiday rush and she's excited for the extra business.

“As it gets closer and closer to the holidays it becomes kind of a zoo in here,” said Clouse.  “Lots of chatter, music and kids coming to see Santa and then of course Christmas Eve we get a lot of our men in here.”

So as the holidays approach seasonal jobs are a welcome relief to those looking for a little extra spending money.

“It is nice on their pocket books to have the extra hours so that they can do extra things during the holidays and obviously they have a lot of people to shop for as well,” said Clouse. 

And Jennifer can expect a lot more business because according to the National Retail Federation, Americans have already spent an average of $423 on gifts for the holidays and experts estimate that that's only half of what they'll spend by Christmas.