Duluth Retailers See Stronger Numbers in Back-to-School Sales

By KBJR News 1

September 3, 2012 Updated Sep 3, 2012 at 9:39 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's turning out to be a good year for back-to-school sales in Duluth.

Empty peg boards and boxes are a sign of just how quick supplies have gone at Target.

"It started last Tuesday, so it's been about a week of just chaos," said Jessica Radtke, an executive team leader for Target.

Labor Day and back-to-school sales helped draw in customers to many Duluth stores.

"There's been sales on electronics, for TVs especially for kids in dorms," said Radtke.

One national retailer tried something a little bit different this year to get people in the doors - free hair cuts, and it worked.

The Duluth store did more than 2,000 haircuts alone.

"We had phones ringing off the hooks. We have appointments coming in everyday....We saw really tremendous pick-up in our back to school businesses," said Josh Willard, an assistant store manager for JCPenney.

The promotion also showcased the store's new layout and shops.

"It's a much higher end looking merchandise," said Willard.

Maurices also had a busy weekend.

"We see Thunder Bay Canadians coming down all the time, so it's always great to have holiday weekends here," said Sarah Aschman, a first assistant at Maurices.

What are some of those hot ticket items this year?

"Just folders, I think I get asked that every day where our folders are," said Radtke.

"It's all about colored bottoms and jeggings," said Aschman.

"For the dorms there's been just a lot of the storage stuff," said Radtke.

"Blazers are no longer just for business anymore," said Aschman.

The back-to-school sales are positive news, leaving retailers with a positive outlook.

"We've definitely been busier than we have in past back-to-school and back to college years, so it's been you know, great experiencing that and really getting us ready and set up for fourth quarter and what Christmas is really going to be like," said Radtke.

Retailers hope the momentum will bring them into the holiday season, full speed ahead.

Radtke also said the store had a lot of early back-to-school shoppers this year.

In a back-to-school survey, the National Retail Federation found families with K-12 students would on average spend about 14 percent more this year, but analysts argue over whether this is a sign of economic recover.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike