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Decisions for Dad
Garb, grills top gifts for Father's Day
Fathers Day Target 2 es
Brelin, left, and Tanner Wakefield look over Father’s Day cards with their mother, Tracy Wakefield, right, Tuesday afternoon at SuperTarget off Market Place Boulevard in Cumming. Assistant Manager Peter Melsen said televisions and grills are popular items for dad this year. - photo by Emily Saunders
Clothing may remain among the most popular gifts for Father’s Day, but Lori Brown-Jackson said shoppers are “very far away from dad getting a tie these days.”

Brown-Jackson, manager of the Belk at Lakeland Plaza in Cumming, said the department store’s business for Father’s Day, which is Sunday, has shifted to the more casual side.

“It’s more geared toward golf and weekend wear,” she said. “I think dad is looking for something just a little bit more fashion forward, rather than just the solid shirt.

“Fathers are liking plaid shorts. We have a lot of Madras plaid shorts that have been selling very well ... also, we’ve seen a lot of movement in the seersucker shorts and pants.”

A National Retail Federation survey shows the average consumer will spend about $91 for a Father’s Day gift, down from nearly $95 last year. Most shoppers will spend money on special outings, including dinners and sporting events.

In total, nearly $9.5 billion will be spent on dads this year, according to the survey.

It’s not quite the $14 billion spent for Mother’s Day, but it does balance the retail market, shifting sales away from florists, jewelers and spas and toward automotive, electronics and sporting goods.

Home improvement items, books, music and appliances are among top gifts for fathers, according to the survey.

Peter Melsen, assistant manager at the Cumming SuperTarget on Market Place Boulevard, said electronics and barbecue equipment are selling well this year.

“It’s a great week for TVs, it’s a great week for grills and grilling items,” he said. “Because of the rainfall that we’ve received this year, there’s a whole lot more people working out in their yard, so anything that can be used outside that dad wouldn’t buy for himself are great items this year.”

Melsen said the drought may have discouraged shoppers from giving outdoor equipment as Father’s Day gifts the last couple of years. But with the wet start to 2009, “anything that dad can use in a boat or in the water, those things are really, really selling well this year.”

The sporting aisle, particularly golf and tennis gear, also is popular.

At Home Depot, also off Market Place, power tools still are king for Father’s Day. Spokeswoman Paula Drake suggested a cordless paint sprayer kit or power screwdriver for dad this year, or maybe a mower or trimmer.

Tools, grills and gadgets of all price ranges are available in the store and online, Drake said.

“With the tough economy today, more and more people are doing it themselves and taking on home maintenance projects and simple remodel and décor projects,” she said. “So it’s very possible that home improvement merchandise will continue to be a favorite for Father’s Day.”

Stores in The Avenue Forsyth are offering specials for dads, including discounts on menswear at JoS. A. Bank, sales on recliners and massage chairs at Relax the Back and deals on music, books and movies at Barnes & Noble.

“From office fashion to collegiate team wear, as well as chocolates, the latest tech toys and more, shoppers can find the perfect gift for dad at The Avenue,” said Megan Jurkovic, the marketing manager for the mall at Exit 13 off Ga. 400.

E-mail Jennifer Sami at