It’s the season to get what you want and one day after they unwrapped gifts, shoppers were back.
“Actually this isn’t as bad as we thought it would be. I thought it would be really, really bad,” Karin Seibel said.
Seibel and her daughters stood in the return line on Wednesday. With so many stops to make on the day after Christmas, they’re thankful it’s moving fast.
“And with girls it’s hard to determine if they’re going to like it. But they liked everything they got this year,” Seibel said.
“We were doing Secret Santa and my sister got me. She didn’t realize I have the exact same one,” A.J. Steele said, as he waited to return a gift.
Steele also works retail. He knows what else these lines mean: those who return, also shop.
“We sold a lot of gift cards, especially right before Christmas Saturday and Sunday,” Steele said.
Bargain hunters packed stores looking for deals on Wednesday, hoping to spend their extra Christmas cash, even if it came in the most popular plastic form: a gift cards.
“I think there are bargains on some things; definitely Christmas items, wrapping paper, decorations and stuff like that. We just got here so we don’t know what sales there are,” Seibel said.
The National Retail Federation estimates consumers spend more than $580 billion during winter holidays. The spending continues after Christmas, as the items are returned or exchanged.
“I shop here a lot. It won’t be hard to get something else,” Steele said.
According to preliminary reports, shoppers didn't spend as much as retailers hoped, pointing to modest gains of one percent or less in spending the two months leading up to Christmas. That's a sharp difference from last year when shoppers dished out up to five percent more than the year before.