Christmas 1994: The Race Is On

All signs point to a healthy holiday season.

Top performers last weekend were leather handbags by Chanel, Prada, Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta and Judith Leiber; fine jewelry and David Yurman twisted cable jewelry; fragrances -- especially Boucheron -- custom-packaged in baskets; Waterford and Baccarat crystal; and men's designer ties.

Evening looks and extras were important, including dresses, black jet jewelry, handbags and tuxedo shirts.

The one soft area was coats and outerwear, which Gurwitch blamed on unusually warm weather.

J.C. Penney Co.'s tactic of opening at 7:30 a.m. Friday and lopping 10 percent off all promotionally priced merchandise for the first three hours seemed to have paid off.

Sales rocketed ahead 38 percent Friday and jumped 15 percent Saturday at the Penney's in Glendale Galleria, in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. Top sellers included women's sweaters, hosiery, fine jewelry, sleepwear and robes and men's flannel shirts.

Penney's in Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, a Dallas suburb, achieved a 26 percent gain for the two days. "We opened at 7:30 with door busters, and we had people lined up at the door at 7 a.m., so it was very successful," observed Randy Anderson, merchandise manager for women's sportswear at the store. "They were pouring in here all day Friday."
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