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McClatchy-Tribune  06/12/2014 12:01 AM ET
Father's Day shopping to pick up over weekend [The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. :: ]

June 12--Many consumers wait until the last minute to complete their Father's Day shopping, but Augusta resident Keylor Grigg bucked the trend this year.

Grigg, who was shopping Wednesday at Target in Augusta Exchange shopping center, already had given her husband his Father's Day present -- a pair of shoes that he wanted -- a week ago. She stopped by Target with her 7-year-old stepson to pick up two greeting cards: one for her husband and the other for her father.

Grigg stayed within her $100 shopping budget, she said.

"They're easy," she said of both men.

The card section was a popular destination for other Father's Day shoppers.

"We were huge on cards, so our card sales are high," said Target store manager Jen Testa. "I know our men's department has been getting shopped hard. Electronics and what we have on sale in men's clothes right now are two huge things for Father's Day."

Testa said a week's worth of sales had attracted customers inside both departments, but she expected the biggest push to come this weekend.

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, shoppers this year are expected to spend an average $113.80 on gifts for dad, which is down slightly from $119.84 in 2013. Total spending, the foundation predicts, could reach $12.5 billion.

Father's Day, though, ranks near the bottom of consumer spending holidays, generating less revenue for retailers than Mother's Day, at $19.9 billion; Valentine's Day, at $17.3 billion; and even Easter, at $15.9 billion, according to the foundation's figures.

Christmas is, predictably, the top holiday for shoppers, and it brought in more than $600 billion last year.

The annual survey conducted for the retail foundation showed that 64 percent of consumers will give their fathers a greeting card, 41 percent will purchase apparel and nearly 43 percent plan to celebrate with special outings such as dinner or tickets to a athletic event. Electronic devices and gift cards also came in as popular purchases for Father's Day.

At Gentry Mens Shop in Surrey Center in Augusta, owner Bruce Jackson said Saturday will likely be his busiest day as shoppers dash in to make final Father's Day selections.

"My customers usually come in last-minute," Jackson said. "They know what I have. They know I'll gift-wrap it for them and they'll be done in a few minutes."

Shirts of all kinds, spanning from a Hawaiian variety to dress attire, have been top Father's Day sellers there for 40 years. The traditional Father's Day present is also proving popular at Gentry.

"We still sell a lot of ties," Jackson said.

Jackson said he considers Father's Day second only to Christmas as his most important sales holiday.

Management at the new Cabela's store in the Village at Riverwatch expects shopping to get busier as the week draws to an end.

"Sales have been steady," said Katie Duncan, the store's retail marketing manager. "As we're gearing up and getting closer to Father's Day, we're seeing increased foot traffic."

One item flying off the shelves at the store, which opened in March, has been an on-sale camouflaged recliner that includes a cup holder, power outlets and USB plug, Duncan said.

"Our big push right now actually is gift cards," she said. "When you walk in our store right now, we have a mannequin covered in gift cards. That's what we're pushing families to get dad because we have so many different types of merchandise."


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