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Holiday Shopping Season Gets Healthy Start

Shoppers hit the stores this weekend, as Arlington merchants kicked off the holiday shopping season. Merchants went into the post-Thanksgiving weekend hopeful, although most have yet to determine the total customers, said Eithne Richardson, property manager for the Market Common in Clarendon.

“The weekend before Thanksgiving, they had a higher percentage of foot traffic than normal,” she said. “So everyone went into what is the official start of the holiday season with a positive attitude.”

Richardson expects to receive final customer counts mid-week, though she said there is no set deadline. “The place was definitely hopping,” she said.

Santa Claus and carolers will be appearing at the out door mall Saturdays, noon-3 p.m., throughout the holiday season, which Richardson said should keep customers coming. “We did this last year and it was a hit,” she said.

Similar holiday promotions drew shoppers to Ballston Common Mall over the weekend, particularly on Nov. 29 – Black Friday. “Friday was really busy, Saturday was okay, and overall we had a slight increase [from last year],” said Edan Ali, Assistant Marketing Director for Ballston Common.

Shoppers made good use of the mall’s gift-wrapping service run by the local Jaycees. All proceeds are shared with local charities: CrisisLink, Pilots Club of Arlington and Arlington Food Assistance Center. Ballston Common also featured a Spanish-speaking Santa who raised money for the charities.

The Fashion Center at Pentagon City had no sales figures by Tuesday but Marketing Director Leslie Maxam said merchants were pleased with the turnout.

“The mall was very full over the weekend,” she said. Crowds did not become overwhelming, though, and no major incidents were reported.

Maxam attributed the large turnout to Day After Thanksgiving sales and extended store hours.

“That really added to the mood of shopping here over the weekend,” she said.