- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - South Louisiana retailers have said they are optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping season, which will start in earnest at many stores and shopping malls on Thanksgiving night.

Tony Stephens, general manager at the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, told The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1QDU8ID) that his mall has more tenants than ever before and expects sales to be high.

Stephens and mall officials wouldn’t give specific holiday sales projections, saying they were basing their optimism on conversations with stores and the early number of shoppers.

Frank Quinn, general manager of News Orleans’ Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, also said he was “very optimistic.” This will be the second holiday season for the Riverwalk shopping center.

“We want to spread the word that it’s now time to come back and spend some holiday time downtown,” he said. “There’s so much to offer for this season coming up.”

Quinn said he expects athletic wear to be popular this holiday season. He said product offerings are being expanded as part of a shift toward more casual clothing.

The holiday shopping season accounts for about 20 percent of annual retail sales.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will increase by 3.7 percent over 2014 figures. Spending rose by 4.1 percent in 2014 and 2013.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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