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Holiday Shoppers Crowd Empire Mall

December 17, 2011, 10:00 PM by Hailey Higgins

Holiday Shoppers Crowd Empire Mall
SIOUX FALLS, SD - This is one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. KELOLAND retailers are pulling out all the stops to lure shoppers into stores and so far it is working at the Empire Mall.

Shoppers make a mad dash, overtaking the Empire Mall Saturday, scooping up sales with one week left till Christmas.

Rachel Vellema and Jenn Kruger drove an hour and a half from Harris, Iowa to start their Christmas shopping.

"It was kind of the only time we had. We knew there would be a lot of people, but we thought we'd try it out," Vellema said.

"I expected a lot of people, but it's way more crowded than I thought," Kruger said.

Crowded could be an understatement, as thousands of holiday shoppers packed the Mall. Marketing Manager Jennifer Morrison credits the nice weather for the turnout.

"A lot of people are thinking, 50 degrees outside; I'm going to get my shopping done this weekend so I can prepare for next weekend, especially if they are going out of town."

The Empire Mall expects to be in-line with national holiday trends this year and expects a 2.5 to 5 percent increase in sales over last year.

"Everyone is putting stuff on sale so (customers say) lets go shopping," Kruger said.

Deep discounts similar to the weekend after Thanksgiving are attracting shoppers. Stores hope those incentives will double their sales *this weekend in the final push before the holiday.

"I got a shirt and a pair of pants, each for $10, so yeah, good deal," Vellema said.

And with plenty of money left to spend, Vellema and Kruger disappear among the large crowd, ready to cross more gifts off their Christmas list.

Morrison expects tomorrow to be just as busy with shoppers at the Empire Mall.

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