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Amarillo-based Hastings has high hopes for the future

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AMARILLO - Virtually every retail business, big or small, is gearing up for Black Friday sales.

But a national corporation based in Amarillo has a lot more at stake this year than usual. Hastings has had its ups and downs, mostly downs in the last few years. But now they've had a make-over and are hoping Black Friday shoppers like it, then keep coming back.

Though it's been a rocky road for the corporation, revenues are now on the rise and the company's gone green on the NASDAQ. "We've introduced a lot of new and expanded products," store manager of the Hastings store on Georgia Street, Max Hanson, said.

Hanson says morale is high within the company despite recent store closings and financial uncertainty. The company traditionally known for renting and selling DVD's, music, and books has struggled to find a new, relevant identity in the digital age.

The company's quarterly report, CEO John Marmaduke said "revenues for music, books, and rental continue to be impacted by the popularity of digital delivery, rental kiosks, and subscription based services."

The report also says "book revenues continue to be impacted by the decline in sales of the Fifty Shades trilogy. "Fifty Shades of Grey was a huge seller last year," Hanson said. "I think most places were sold out." But despite the lack of a hard-copy best seller this holiday season, Hastings is making up for it with new products. "Die-cast hobby products, consumer electronics, fitness, health accessories, a lot over in our television section," Hanson said.

Products they hope to hook customers on during holiday sales to keep the 247 corporate jobs in Amarillo safe for years to come. "I think it looks very well for us. Those people who come in and maybe haven't shopped at a Hastings in quite a while will come in now that we currently carry and be more inclined to come more frequently," Hanson said.

Hastings is still hiring seasonal employees, and the company says 90% of those hires end up with permanent jobs.

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