Cut Prices, Will Shop

I was just one day after East Texans decked their halls that East Texans filled the mall, taking advantage of those in of the season deals.

"I love shopping," said Karen Watson of Athens.

Some had their gift receipts in hand.  "We haven't had a chance to look.  We'll get the returns done and then we'll see if we want to buy anything else or not," said Dusty Amrine.

Lisa Gay stopped by the jewelry counter.  She said the best time to shop is after Christmas.  "You get all the mark downs."

Throughout the mall, stores offered 40, 50, and up to 75 percent off on jewelry, clothes, and pretty much everything else.

"Things that are normally $30 or $40 are $7.99, so you can't beat that," said Wendy Hunter.

According to SpendingPulse, which tracks total purchases made with credit, cash and checks, retail sales fell between 5.5 and 8 percent this holiday season.

And you know the saying, "desperate times, call for desperate measures," as well as some history making moves for the folks at J.C. Penney.

"We understand the economic uncertainty for the country and also for East Texas," said Lon Hawkins, assistant manager of the Tyler store.  The store joined with the national chain and opened its doors at 5:30 am Friday morning.

"We're pleased with the traffic," Hawkins said.

The bait has been hooked, and judging by the long lines, some shoppers were biting.

Carrie Hunt and her family got to the mall early.

"[We] probably would have paid $200 to $250 for some clothes, and we walked out of there with $88 spent," she said.

Layron Livingston, Reporting