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Tampa Bay Area Seeing Record-Breaking Holiday Shopping

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Retail owners are gearing up for a busy holiday season!

According to the Florida Retail Federation, Florida is predicted to see record-breaking holiday shopping!

At International Plaza and Bay Street Mall, there's been a steady flow of people going in and out all day long, and it's only a Tuesday,

Mall officials say they've seen a record number of shoppers this November, and they expect that number to continue to rise through out the holidays.

Celena Dixon, a shopper at the mall, says "When I pulled in, I didn't know there was going to be that many people in the day time. That's why I decided to come this time because I know everybody would be working, but not at all."

Amanda Mouzanner, another shopper, says "Especially for a Tuesday! Aren't people supposed to be at work?"

Whatever day of the week it is, if you walk into the International Plaza and Bay Street Mall, you'll probably see a lot of people doing their holiday shopping.

"Oh Lord, my kids want Jordans and I can't find them anywhere," said Dixon.

With the weather getting cooler in the Tampa Bay Area, and people becoming more comfortable with traveling in the pandemic, more people are showing up at the stores.

Brooke Verner, another shopper, says "Winter clothes for our trip to New York lately. Yeah. That's a good portion of what I bought."

After almost two years of being in the midst of a pandemic, shoppers are getting out more.

"This is their opportunity to get shopping again. Last year because of COVID-19, many people didn't get to see their family, and this year it's a little more opened up and they can so they are going all out," said Mouzanner.

Mall marketing director, Lindsay Grinstead, says November is showing record-breaking shopping compared to 2019, and she's seeing the increase well ahead of normal holiday shopping season…with last weekend looking similar to Black Friday.

"We were shoulder to shoulder this weekend with lines out of many of our stores," said Grinstead.

The National and Florida Retail Federation predicts that sales from November to December will see an increase between 8.5% and 10.5% compared to 2020.

"We're all trying to get back to the norm, whatever the norm is, we are trying to get back to what we are used to," said Dixon.

Mall officials say since they are seeing such an increase in holiday shopping now, you may want to do your shopping a bit earlier.

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