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Stores, malls close early

Even Santa didn’t show up for work Thursday in downtown Spokane. Numerous businesses shuttered their doors early or never opened today because of the snow.

The businesses that did open saw far fewer shoppers than normal. The snowfall added insult to an already difficult winter, normally the busiest retail period of the year.

“We’re staying open because there are people stranded in downtown hotels. And we want to be open when they come into the mall to shop,” said David Ledbetter, manager of the Helly Hansen outdoor clothing shop in River Park Square.

Street traffic was practically non-existent through most of Thursday, due to unplowed streets.

Major downtown retailer Macy’s closed its store at 1 p.m.

The Spokane Valley Mall also closed at 1 p.m., in large part due to difficult road conditions leading in and out of the parking lot.

Also closing early was the NorthTown Mall, which normally sees its busiest shopping days of the year during this coming weekend.

About half of River Park Square’s downtown shops opened for business, though some of them closed earlier than the mall’s usual 9 p.m. closing time.

The mall’s AMC movie theaters stayed dark all day, after managers couldn’t find enough staff to come in, said Elizabeth Mills, the mall’s marketing director.

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