LAFAYETTE — Sherlo Parr stood in a fast-moving queue at Best Buy on Friday with a pair of Bose headphones she wanted to return.
She’d driven in through mist and rain from her home in New Iberia the day after Christmas, and Best Buy was one among many stops in Lafayette she would make.
Parr had purchased the headphones for her nephew and covered her bet by buying both the wireless and wired types.
Parr was surprised when the young man chose the headphones that needed to be plugged in. She was pleased, too.
“The wireless were way more expensive,” she said, standing in the return/exchange line.
Others in the line Friday had their reasons, too: Alex Blanchard’s girlfriend didn’t like the speaker stand he’d gotten her; Gypsy Vilcan’s iPad case was the wrong size; James Ziegler didn’t like the features on the PlayStation 4 he bought for his brother; and Laura LeJeune clutched a newspaper ad that featured the same television she bought at Best Buy last weekend for $30 more.
LeJeune, who hails from Meaux in Vermilion Parish, said she would hold the national electronics retailer to its promise of providing the “Best Buy” at the lowest cost around.
“Yes, I stand in line for $30,” LeJeune said.
Best Buy General Manager Daniel Sinitiere said Christmas 2014 was good for the Lafayette store. He said that nationally, Best Buy’s sales numbers show it would have a good year.
“We got some pretty nice stuff,” Sinitiere said.
He said the retailer this year introduced two new departments that sold upscale services: The Magnolia Design Center, which designs and installs in-home entertainment centers; and Pacific Kitchen & Home, which sells high-end, high-tech kitchen appliances.
Retailers across the country should report good year-end and Christmas sales numbers for 2014, according to Bloomberg News, which cites a National Retail Federation prediction of the best U.S. sales in November and December since 2011.
Shoppers in Louisiana and nationally have more to spend because they’re paying far less for gasoline this year. In the last six months, the price of gasoline has fallen 30 percent or more.
At Renaissance Market and Brasserie in Lafayette’s Oil Center, Jim and Mary Hopkins said the Christmas 2014 sales might have been their best since they opened in 1992.
In January, they’ll travel to AmericasMart in Atlanta to order inventory for spring and summer 2015 and to get ideas on what will be on the shelves of the Harding Street store.
The couple said they’re bracing for a less-than-stellar 2015 because of low oil prices and what that means for Louisiana’s and Lafayette’s large population employed in the energy sector.
“But we’ve been through this before,” Mary Hopkins said, noting energy’s boom and bust cycles and how the store’s survived and thrived.
On Friday, the Hopkinses said they were thankful for a robust 2014 and the good Christmas sales.
Jim Hopkins said there was one customer who returned a Christmas gift on Friday, a “faux pearl necklace.”
His wife later corrected him.
“It was an exchange,” she said, “which makes it better.”