Carrollton resident Janet Clearwater, who was visiting her daughter in Douglasville for Thanksgiving, was pleased Arbor Place was going to extend its Black Friday hours.
“I visited Arbor Place when I was here visiting my daughter and her family last year and it was a great experience, just as my daughter said it would be,” she said.
“Although, I was unable to be here at midnight this morning when the mall officially opened for Black Friday, I found the experience of shopping here, even with the crowds and the extra time looking for a parking place, added to my holiday spirit,” Clearwater said.
Comments like that are music to the ears of Arbor Place Mall General Manager Bill Ball, who is in his 12th year at Arbor Place and 36th year overall with the mall’s management company, CBL and Associates Inc.
Ball, who is in his final mall Christmas shopping season as he plans to retire shortly, said mall officials were looking for a great Christmas this year to cap an already successful 2013 for mall merchants as well as Arbor Place’s management company.
“For this entire year, we are running about 6 to 7 percent ahead in sales for our merchants while, at this time, we have approximately 96 percent of our retail selling space leased out,” he said.
Ball said he believes the country is in a “decent” economic recovery period, but added it has come a long way from where the economy was three or four years ago.
That is good news for mall merchants, Ball said. The Christmas shopping season, which is part of the economic fourth quarter period for retailers, is looking to not only be successful itself but be used as a “jumping off point” for the first quarter of 2014, he said.
Although Ball said he had not heard of any new retail sales item that was expected to draw increased interest from shoppers this year, he felt small electronics would continue to exhibit strong sales in addition to software items, such as clothing.